4 Quick Ways to Audit Your Workplace Safety Programs
In the United States, workplace injuries and illnesses happen at a rate of 3.2 cases per 100 full-time workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that if your organization employs 100 people, on average, at least three of them will experience a workplace injury or illness this year. Are your workplace safety programs working effectively to prevent these incidents?
Of course, a full safety audit is quite an involved process. But what if you want to quickly assess one or two programs, without running through an entire audit?
To get started, try these quick tips:
1. Work backward from the most recent incidents.
One of the simplest ways to assess your workplace safety programs is to start at the end point: Find your organization’s most recent safety incidents, which should be listed on your annual OSHA 200. Select a few, and work backward through the relevant programs and reports to see where the problem emerged.
This simple tactic can be very effective in revealing any gaps in your safety programs. For example, if you discover that several of your organization’s most recent incidents were slip and falls, track back through the incident reports and relevant safety initiatives. Examining the series of events in this way might help you realize that certain departments or groups of employees are not following correct procedures for preventing falls.
2. Leverage online resources.
For a quick audit, consider downloading an existing audit checklist, and then working your way through only those areas that you currently need to assess. OSHA offers a wide range of online resources and audit checklists that can be applied to most industries. You can download an audit program and begin evaluating your safety programs right away.
3. Delegate auditing responsibilities.
Supervisors and managers at your organization likely already complete daily walk-throughs and weekly inspections of their areas. These leaders are valuable resources for a quick audit, since they are the ones who see how their departments are performing on a daily basis.
To assess how your workplace safety programs are performing, reach out to supervisors and managers to get their feedback. You might provide them with a quick checklist to determine how well safety procedures are being followed. Once you’ve gathered the results, you’ll have a better understanding of where the overall organization stands.
4. Go high-tech.
In many organizations, one of the most time-consuming aspects of a safety audit involves gathering all the right documentation, and the appropriate people, to go over the plan. With hard-copy or intranet-based plans, this is an unwieldy process. However, leveraging a mobile workplace safety app can help to make quick, as-needed audits faster and more effective.
Mobile apps maintain workplace safety data in the cloud, providing all employees immediate access to your plans from any location and at any time. They also offer two-way communication, which instantly puts you and your team in contact with any and all necessary stakeholders.
These two features can be leveraged to make the auditing process much faster, since everyone has access to all relevant information and can easily communicate with each other. When necessary, you can initiate a quick organization-wide audit, during which stakeholders review the plan documents that are applicable to their departments. Then, they can report any gaps or issues directly to the workplace safety team, right on the app itself.
Mobile apps offer improved access to information and optimized communication, which gives you incredible flexibility for quick audits. For example, following an incident in which an employee experienced a hand injury, you can quickly initiate an audit of safety protocol around glove use, machinery safety and other relevant items. This will help you to ensure that each incident is a learning experience—not a mistake that may quickly be repeated.
How does your organization currently conduct safety audits? Are they an annual event, or an ongoing process?