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What is a Safety Audit?

Updated July 2021

HR Question:

My manager is concerned about our company’s ability to pass a safety inspection and wants us to do an audit. What is a safety audit?

HR Answer:

Safety audits (known more formally as health and safety audits) are routine, comprehensive reviews geared towards gauging the efficiency, effectiveness, and legality of a company’s safety management programs. Audits assess a company’s compliance to applicable regulations or codes as well as the identification of unsafe conditions in the workplace. Audits also provide an evaluation of workplace adherence to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards relating to workplace and worker safety. There are also DOT regulations that need to be met if they apply to your company’s line of work. Keep in mind that safety audits are meant to check the effectiveness of various programs, but they do not take the place of regular facility inspections, which should be done on a much more frequent basis as facility rules dictate.

When conducting a safety (or OSHA) audit there are two things to evaluate: compliance and safety. When reviewing compliance it is important to evaluate how the company handles conformance to the prescribed codes or standards, recordkeeping, and training of employees. When assessing safety, the objective is to identify unsafe work conditions, rather than unsafe acts or behaviors. And with the addition of COVID-19 safety precautions and regulations, employers have an additional layer of guidance to adhere to in order to keep their employees safe.

There is no “one size fits all” approach to health and safety audits. Audits must be customized to the type of industry, size of the company or location being audited, applicable local, state, and federal laws and any other company-specific factors that might affect the safety and health of your workforce.

Have you had a safety audit recently? Do you know which OSHA forms you are required to complete? strategic HR has the expertise you need to ensure your policies and practices are keeping your workers, customers, and visitors safe. Visit our Health, Safety & Security page to learn more about how we can assist you with workplace safety.