Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist
There is no secret that every company out there is not 100 percent compliant with every applicable safety standard and regulation at any given point of time. In fact, it is likely that you could go to the top ten safest companies in America and still find safety issues that should be corrected. However, just because it is unlikely that you will ever achieve a 100 percent compliant company, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still set goals to reach 100 percent compliance.
It is part of the OSHA General Duty Clause to have a workplace that is free from recognized hazards. That means you should be checking for recognized hazards in some fashion. A great way to do this would be through the means of an audit. Audits give us a chance to find issues that are either ignored or not seen by those who are exposed to the hazards. Audits should be conducted by both internal employees and third party personnel to ensure that all potential hazards are seen and corrected before they lead to accidents.
Internal audits are audits that are performed by employees within your company who understand basic OSHA regulations. This could be safety monitors, where safety is a very small part of their job, like supervisors, foreman, maintenance staff, or anyone else who is in the area or work-setting on a daily or weekly basis with a good sense of safety. These individuals will have the greatest understanding of how machines operate, what tools work as they should, and what work is performed and how it is done. Additionally, these individuals will be most competent in knowing the exact ins and outs of why certain hazards are neglected or ignored. The information that these employees obtain cannot be substituted by any 3rd party auditor, which gives reason why internal audits are critical to understanding how safety concerns arise and finding long term solutions that work.
Internal audits should be conducted on a set schedule, depending on your level of risks and your available resources. This may vary between weekly safety audits for those companies who work on-location and the environment is constantly changing, to monthly or quarterly in working environments that have very little day to day changes.
Third party audits are audits that are conducted by a trained safety professional who is familiar with the work that your company performs. These audits allows for a new set of eyes to come in and inspect your work, facility, or job-site. Having a qualified safety inspector who knows any and all applicable safety regulations is critical to ensuring that you are within compliance and are covered if a random OSHA inspection occurs. Third party inspections can range from very specific inspections in a certain area or job location, to spot check style audits to see from a general view if your company is moving in the right direction, to a complete wall-to-wall (or site line to site line) inspection. These audits should be conducted usually on an annual basis and there should be some form of a written report generated that indicates your company’s area of strengths and where there could be improvements. Additionally, unless asked otherwise, almost all third party auditors keep the information confidential between the auditor and the company being audited, so there is no sense in trying to hide or cover up any safety issues. Another great reason for a third party audit is that auditors are able to give you corrective action examples for improvements.
If you need some assistance creating your own internal audit, or if you are interested in having a third party auditor come on-site and conduct any level of safety audit for you, CompOne is able to help! We have created an extensive audit with 25 different sections that covers everything from incident investigation to powered industrial trucks and everything in-between. Additionally, if you would like to improve or even create a safety, machine, equipment, or general audit that can be completed by one of your own employees on a set schedule but are unsure of where to start, we are able to assist with that as well. Feel free to give me a call at 734-309-3456 or email me at email@example.com.