Safety Audit Checklists

safety audit being done

Published 15 Sep 2022

What is a Safety Audit?

A safety audit is the process of gathering information to assess the risks and hazards in the workplace. It is performed by internal and external safety officers to evaluate efficiency, reliability, and effectiveness of health and safety systems of the organization. A safety audit checklist is used to ensure organizations comply with safety regulatory requirements to mitigate risks and prevent any work-related incidents, injuries, or fatalities. It is important for an organization to create an audit that fits the requirements of the industry. The information provided in this form should be specific. This ensures that the documentation process is timely and accurate.

How to Perform a Safety Audit: Top 5 Tips

Safety audits are integral to the success of any operation, regardless of the business’s nature. The safety of a work environment influences productivity, worker morale, and overall sustainability. While the exact steps and specifics of each safety audit may vary depending on numerous factors, the following principles apply to effective safety audits regardless of industry:

Ensure that your safety audit checklists and templates fit your use case

Different businesses have different processes, workplace layouts, and safety regulations to comply with. While ready-to-use safety audit templates can be downloaded for free, it is generally considered good practice to customize your safety audit templates to fit your use case in order to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness.

Check your safety audit procedure for compliance

A compliant safety audit procedure trumps a good safety audit procedure. Before distributing your safety audit procedure template or checklist to the rest of your auditors, ensure that it covers the necessary checks to comply with safety audit standards relevant to your business. For businesses based in North America, safety officers need to be aware of applicable OSHA Laws and Regulations so they can customize audit templates to include all of the checks and inspections necessary for compliance.

Schedule safety audits and set conditions for ad hoc safety checks

Once you have the right tools to conduct effective safety audits, next comes knowing when and how often you should use them. In general, the thoroughness of your safety audits affect the frequency in which you need to perform them. Some companies prefer a comprehensive annual safety audit, while others may opt for a less comprehensive quarterly safety check.

Ad hoc safety audits should also be performed whenever a new process, equipment, or tool is introduced into the existing system. This ensures that safety practices are modified if necessary; preserving the overall safety in the workplace.

Be specific when documenting your safety audit findings

Good safety audits help inform teams so they can create effective control measures against risks and hazards. Safety auditors would do well to be as specific as possible when documenting findings during routine and ad hoc safety audits. Using safety inspection software which allows you to take photos and annotate them mid-audit results in a more comprehensive report that streamlines communication between teams.

Keep your safety audit data safe and secure

With the help of modern safety inspection apps, companies can rely less on safety contractors and third-party auditors in favor of doing internal safety compliance checks with their own in-house experts. Internal safety audits also give companies the added benefit of data security via cloud storage; allowing for custom permissions so only authorized personnel can access audit data.

What to Include in your Safety Audit Checklist?

A safety audit checklist should be detailed and comprehensive. It should contain all the essential elements of a building or place of business that needs regular checking. Aside from including the identified risks, safety audit checklists ideally indicate the likelihood, severity, and potential impact level of the said risks.

The following are a few examples of the types of questions for your safety audit checklist:

Fire/Explosion

Safety audit checklists should help inspectors check fire hazards in workplaces, as well as recognize the risks associated with them. Here are a few sample questions you can include:

  • Are employees aware of the evacuation procedures in case of fires or explosions?
  • Is the fire alarm system functioning properly?
  • Are exit doors easily opened from the inside?
  • Are extinguishers in place, clear of obstructions, and marked correctly?
  • Is there appropriate direction notices for fire exits?

Electricity

It’s the business owners’ and safety managers’ responsibility to ensure that the workplace is free from potential electrical issues. To do this, consider asking the following questions with your safety audit checklist:

  • Are safety switches installed?
  • Are portable power tools in good condition?
  • Is there an existing emergency shut-down procedure?
  • Are leads not frayed, damaged, or strained and in a good working condition?
  • Are plugs, sockets, or switches not broken and in a good working condition?

Building Safety

Aside from other typical aspects to check inside the workplace, safety audit checklists should also help in identifying, inspecting, and correcting potential hazards from the building itself. Consider asking these common questions:

  • Are floor surfaces even and uncluttered?
  • Are stairs clear from clutters and other obstructions?
  • Are liquid spills removed promptly?
  • Are footpaths in good and safe condition?
  • Are railings in good working condition?

Complete Safety Audits on-the-go Using a Versatile Mobile App

Safety audits are typically performed by safety officers who walk around the workplace, assessing risks and hazards then noting their findings using a pen and clipboard. This can be quite the hassle since physical forms are susceptible to damage, loss, and unauthorized access. iAuditor by SafetyCulture solves all of these problems and then some.

Take advantage of industry-leading features and safeguard your workplace from risks, hazards, and compliance issues:

  • Download pre-made safety audit checklists, convert your existing paper templates into iAuditor’s digital format, or create your own templates from scratch using our drag-and-drop template builder.
  • Take high-definition photos mid-audit and annotate them for easy reference;
  • Quickly roll-out audit template updates across the organization from your mobile device
  • Improve audit accountability by requiring digital signatures from your auditors; and
  • Utilize iAuditor’s advanced analytics to get a snapshot of your company’s overall performance wherever you are

FAQs about Safety Audits

Safety audits are performed by individuals or teams who are trained to conduct periodic safety audits and should be independent from the organization or department being audited.

Safety inspections are more frequently conducted and usually done by employees of the company who may belong to the same department being inspected for safety. The safety officers who conduct the safety inspections are more familiar with day-to-day operations.

Regular safety audits should be performed to ensure that organizational safety programs are implemented and practiced as required. It enables leaders and safety officers to verify the effectiveness of said programs by identifying whether or not they are able to proactively recognize potential hazards in workplaces. Aside from conformance with industry requirements, safety audits are also important because as a safety management practice, it is seen to have reduced unsafe conditions in occupational places.