Is the date for your Safety Audit looming on your calendar? Are you wondering “How will I ever get everything ready in time? There is just so much for the safety team to stay on top of on a daily basis. How can I be sure that things aren’t missed?”
Common questions … let’s look at the solution.
We all get a little stressed when our work is going to be inspected. Especially when it is something as important as ensuring the Safety Program will pass your governing body’s audit! It can take your stress levels into overdrive.
The good news is, that there are a few solid focus areas for managing the stress and pressure of it all.
Follow these basic steps and you will spend less time at the end of the year preparing for your audit and have more time to ensure your team is safe and operating at its peak efficiency.
The 3 Strategies Checklist For Safety Audits
We all know that every successful program or process starts will the PLAN! The plan for achieving a successful safety audit can be broken down into three focus points in this safety audit checklist.
The three places to focus on leading up to your safety audit are:
- People make or break the Safety Program. Don’t just “prep” for the audit. Train your workers all year long. Make the safety program about them and not just a paperwork chore. Make it easy and meaningful. Need some help with this? Safety Evolution provides great suggestions and proven tactics for worker engagement in our Blogs.
- If you are working with a paper-based system, ensuring the daily documents are completed and handed in is often a challenge. Seek the support of supervisors and foremen. Work with them to put a system in place so paperwork doesn’t go missing.
- Getting ready for the safety audit is a daily process. The secret to being “Audit Ready” is implementing the safety program… making it an important part of every worker’s day.
1. People - The Starting Point for All Safety Audits
Start with your people. They are the ones that are going to have the most impact on the success of your audit.
- fill out your paperwork that the auditor reviews
- answer the auditor’s interview questions and
- will be observed as they implement the safety program on the job site.
Prepare your team all year round for interviews. This doesn’t mean going out and talking to them about the interview process and what to expect. This means that your safety program is being successfully communicated to them on a regular basis. Talk about workers’ rights, responsibilities, and company expectations so regularly that everyone knows this inside and out.
Remember you aren't aiming to have them prepped to pass an interview, you are ensuring they have the skills and knowledge to answer any reasonable safety question asked of them because they have a right to know. Knowledgeable workers and new employees pass audits.
2. Paperwork - The 2nd Focus For Your Safety Audit
Give your workers the tools they need to implement the program as easily as possible. We want to move our people away from feeling like the Safety Program is just another job, to see the Safety Program as a tool that they use to help them be successful.
Safety Smart Workers + The Right Safety Documents = A Safer Workplace
Start by making sure they are trained in how to complete safety documentation as well as why we have each document. This will greatly improve your score when you have to show compliance in the audit.
Companies spend a huge amount of money and time preparing for their audits. They sift through enormous stockpiles of paperwork to verify it is all done correctly, sign off, and filed for the audit. Not only is this a massive resource drain, but it also has zero impact on a safer workplace.
Paperwork needs to be reviewed when it is done, not weeks or months after the paperwork was completed.
Switching to a Safety Management Software, like Safety Evolution, is hands down the easiest place you can make changes that will set you up for success.
It will allow you to see your safety documents in real-time, you never have to file them again and best of all when the auditor wants to see them they can log in and everything is right there. You will know the documents your workers are submitting are compliant because you can see them the moment they are started.
3. Process - The Final Step To Focus On For Your Safety Audit
The final step is to focus on the processes! What does your governing body require to pass their audit? This could include investigations, corrective actions, field level hazard assessments, inspections, training, and competencies.
The more complicated the process, the more difficult it is to train. What can you do to simplify the process and work required to implement, run and document compliance? Look at your processes and ask yourself:
"Is there a way I could make this more simple without sacrificing quality?"
Successful health and safety programs will take dedicated time each week/month to ensure that they are operating correctly. Set up a block of time that you commit to every week to perform these duties. Create a checklist of what needs to be done so that you don’t miss anything. Set reminders for your team to help them remember when they will need to complete different tasks.
If you are managing a paper safety management system, then be upfront and realistic with your management team! Paper systems take a very significant amount of time to run. If your company management wants you to move faster and/or budget less for administrative labour, then they will need to consider going paperless. You can use this as a great negotiating tool to get approval for the transition to software.
FYI from Safety Evolution - We polled 265 safety professionals on LinkedIn and 46% spent over 12 hours a week completing the required safety paperwork and administrative duties required to keep their safety programs running properly.
Automating safety processes and the administrative workload required to implement them will be a huge saving for your company. This is another advantage of moving to safety management software. Check out our Demo on Demand to see how we help Safety Professionals and go paperless!
The Goal - Get Prepped, Stay Prepped For Your Next Safety Audit!
Remember the purpose of the audit is to determine if your Safety Management System is working. Is it succeeding? Is it effective? Are employees connected to the safety program or just filling in the blanks?
These are really important questions and ones that will be addressed from many angles during your audit. A safety audit is not just about the “paperwork”! The safety auditor will look at the interview responses from your company employees and observations from the worksite as well. A connection to safety in the workplace is not something that you can “get prepped” for in a couple of weeks. A skilled safety auditor will clearly see if there has been a last-minute scramble to get everyone up to speed. Your safety audit results will reflect the employees’ engagement with your health and safety program.
Preparation for a successful safety audit takes place on a daily basis! Get prepped and stay prepped!
Here are some first-hand experiences from one of the founders of Safety Evolution, David Brennan, about his experiences with safety audits. David offers more insight and suggestions in his video.
So what now?
Jump on our Demo on Demand and see how switching to safety software will set you up for success with your next safety audit. Learn how you can put the 3 Strategies To Pass Your Next Safety Audit to use!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter with helpful safety content below!