What Is a Safety Audit Checklist and Why Does It Matter?
In 2019 alone, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics released a census on fatal occupational injuries that indicated over 5,333 workers died on the job — that equates to about 15 deaths every day. In the same year, OSHA conducted over 33,000 federal inspections and 42,000 state plan inspections across the country to implement stringent measures for worker health and safety.
The main thing the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) enforces is the accountability of businesses and employers in ensuring that workplace hazards are identified, eliminated, and controlled to protect the workforce. Safety audits are always conducted regularly to protect the safety of employees and the working environment.
In essence, a checklist is used in a safety audit to assess the risks and hazards in the work area. It is conducted by safety officers to assess the efficiency, reliability, and effectiveness of the systems used in the company. By implementing a general safety audit, you will ensure that your company reliably complies with the legal occupational health and safety regulations.
Because audits are time-consuming, extensively detailed, and encompass multiple moving parts, conducting safety audits can be challenging without a checklist to help streamline your process. This is where using a safety audit form can make your process more efficient and effective; you can integrate the requirements and regulations of OSHA so you know exactly what to look for every time you conduct an audit. This way, no important detail is missed, guesswork is replaced by systematization, and results are more accurate.
This article covers the following topics:
What Are the Goals of an Occupational Safety Audit Checklist?
The overarching objectives of a safety audit template are the following:
- Systematic identification of safety gaps and weaknesses in the workplace
- Efficient optimization of occupational safety
- Prevention of occupational accidents
- 100% compliance with legal regulations
All of which is meant to help employers and business leaders maintain a safe environment for their workers by recognizing all potential hazards and guaranteeing their removal. On top of this, employee training of safety procedures should also be prioritized to ensure all members of their workforce are aware of the best practices, such as hazard recognition, prevention, and control measures. The facilities and types of equipment should also meet the local, federal, and safety standards as well as all the necessary required health, safety, and medical activities working together to produce a safe place to work.
Depending on the industry, companies have to comply with different safety regulations in their processes and work structures. Therefore, it makes sense to adapt safety audit checklists to the specific application. Only in this way can an increase in efficiency and effectiveness be guaranteed for individual safety issues.
Safety audits serve as an instrument to identify occupational safety challenges early, plan measures and make work structures safer. Independent of conventional audits, major safety deficits can be systematically identified and remedied at an early stage through independent safety audits.
In drafting your safety audit checklist, it’s important to keep in mind that the point is not just to comply with OSHA or other regulatory agencies, but to get a comprehensive understanding of your workplace safety’s status and identify the hazard gaps that need to be addressed to safeguard your people.
Use the findings of your audit to implement positive changes to your environment, health, and safety (EHS) operations to make sure that you make a lasting and sustainable step toward creating a safer workplace.
What Are the 3 Steps of Using Safety Audit Checklists?
Using your checklist is pretty straightforward and just involves three steps:
1. Plan Your Safety Audit Checklist
In the planning phase, you define appropriate time intervals for your use case at which the safety audit should be carried out. Safety audits should also be conducted whenever a new process or tool is introduced into an existing system. This can ensure that workplace safety is maintained. Thoroughly define audit points and ensure that all tools, equipment, work areas, and structures are audited comprehensively.
2. Conduct Regular Safety Audits
Security audits must be conducted and documented regularly. However, the intervals at which such an occupational safety audit is conducted will vary depending on the application. The more irregularly you conduct a safety audit, the more extensively you should check and question the individual processes in your safety system.
3. Ensure Accurate Documentation
When documenting safety audits, it is important to be accurate. Be sure to answer each question in the audit step-by-step and add important information. Good workplace safety audits will help your team take effective action and minimize risks and hazards at work.
To get the most out of your gathered insights, you can also consider incorporating the following best practices:
- Digitize to streamline your process. Using reliable audit software, you can conduct paperless audits efficiently and easily. Gather and record data using the app to save time and minimize errors like double-entry that typically happen during manual audits.
- Conduct periodic audit reviews. Compiling your audit findings in one place and reviewing them over time can be an effective way to spot trends, patterns, and track overall improvements. If your implementation is correct, it should yield fewer results with every conducted audit.
- Discuss your findings with your team. By sharing your findings with your team, you’re opening communication and helping them fully understand the progress you’re making as an organization.
A Mobile Solution for Your Safety Audit With Checklist
A digital application like Lumiform makes paperwork and record keeping a thing of the past. All audit reports are automatically stored online and can be accessed at any time. Through chat or push messages, responsible persons immediately receive notices of security breaches and can counteract them.
A company must prove that the implemented occupational health and safety measures are effective. Maintaining an effective and documented occupational safety and health management system is a challenge that can be overcome by switching from paper to digital.
With Lumiform, it is easier to meet the legal requirements for documenting processes by using the mobile app via smartphone or tablet to perform all checks and document processes. Lumiform’s digital tool offers the following benefits for conducting safety audits:
- The flexible form builder helps turn any paper list into a digital safety audit checklist template within minutes.
- Generate real-time data on internal processes. This makes safety measurable and optimises measures based on the data.
- All test results are automatically bundled in a report and can be sent immediately to stakeholders.
- Easily analyse all data and more quickly identify areas that need action.