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Fundamentals
February 13, 2023

What is safety audit and how to do one

Fundamentals
February 13, 2023

What is safety audit and how to do one

Contributors
Bala Panneerselvam
Co-founder
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Audit in 5 Minutes

Get started in less than 5 minutes by using our template

There are different types of Safety audit. But we’re going to focus on the ones that are done in manufacturing, production and warehouse facilities. The aim of a Safety audit is to make sure workers in a workspace do not undergo any accidents, injury or loss of life. Do you know around the world, approximately 2.3 Million men and women succumb to workplace diseases and accidents? That’s around 6000 deaths a day! 

Purpose of a Safety Audit

A lot of nations have labor guidelines that ensure people have a safe working environment. Make sure you absolutely follow these guidelines else it could have a significant impact on your ability to run the business. 

But if you really want to stand out in your business, it would be prudent to really emphasize safety to get outsized returns. 

By spending the extra 5% of your resources on safety improvements, you get the following benefits:

  • Reduced downtime due to accident or illness
  • Improved worker productivity¬†
  • Ability to hire faster due to better safety records
  • Longer retention of employees due to better safety records.¬†

Do not consider safety as a cost line item but a strategic investment that will improve the productivity of your establishment.

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For eg., if your audit process spends 30 mins a day for 20 days a month and there’s 2 downtimes due to safety issues in a month, you are saving an overall 6 hours every month just on reduced downtime. This is not considering the other costs.

How to setup the safety team

The safety team needs to be independent of your operations team. And typically the safety team should report into the founders or a central audit team. This ensures that there is no collusion between the teams and the safety profile is accurate. 

Head of Safety

The safety team should have a head of safety who goes through the entire safety report, highlights the misses, next steps and follows through on them.

Auditor

The auditor is the person who conducts the safety audit. They physically go to the location, look through different parts and record them in their device. The data collected is then collated into a report and shared with the head of safety for review. 

The Operations Manager

The operations manager is typically the head of the facility being audited. The operations manager will get the report from the Head of safety and guidelines on what to improve and how. 

How to do a Safety Audit

The audits can be planned in multiple ways. 

Periodic Audit:

These are regular compliance audits that can be done a few times a year to track regular checklist of issues. 

Surprise Audit:

These are ad hoc audits, meant to catch any misses the Operations team is unprepared for. These are also done by labor agencies or external auditors.

Daily Audit:

Some audits are done every day just to make sure everything is working properly as expected. One common example is in food production facilities and chemical factories where all elements need to be thoroughly inspected before starting the production.

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In all these audits, the auditor typically goes through the facility areas one by one and starts marking the status of different tools, equipment, spaces and their personal observations. They highlight any severe mishaps immediately and help them fix and the rest are sent as part of the report.

Tools and technologies

Audit is a highly manual process. Originally, they are done with pen and paper and the report is prepared separately. This process is hugely inefficient because it impacts the productivity of the establishment as a whole. A better practice is to use a technology tool that can capture the questions, answers, supporting documents and automatically create the necessary reports. 

There are several audit tools available in the market. Some key attributes to look for are

  • Ability to customize the questions and answers often
  • Add conditions basic logic. For eg., if an answer is marked no, mandate the collection of images
  • Ability to auto create reports based on the answers
  • Schedule audits based on predefined calendar schedule
  • Assign different auditors different audits and track them in real-time.

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Our firm Zorp provides a comprehensive platform to build the necessary tools you need for all types of audits. You can check out some of our templates here.

Closing Notes

We hope this article was helpful in structuring your audit process in the company. One request is to think of Audit as a strategic advantage for your business rather than an obligation.

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Audit in 5 Minutes

Get started in less than 5 minutes by using our template.

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