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what is Safety Audit in HSE?

Safety Audit :

Audit is a systematic and, wherever possible, independent examination to determine whetheractivities and related results conform to planned arrangements and whether these arrangements are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve the organization's policy and objectives.
The health and safety management audit our members adopted is a structured process of collecting independent information on the efficiency, effectiveness and reliability of the total H&S management system and drawing up plans for corrective action.
Auditing examines each stages in the H&S management system by measuring compliance with the controls the organization has developed, with the ultimate aim of assessing their effectiveness and their validity for the future.

Objective:

The objective of the safety audit is to evaluate the effectiveness of the company’s safety effort and
make recommendations which lead to a reduction in accidents and minimization of loss potential.
Safety audits are an important part of a company’s control system and these checks ensure that
deteriorating standards are detected. Examination of the defects exposed in this review results in
hazardous conditions and potential accidents being avoided.
Regular audits should be based on the premise that resources should be made available to identify
and eliminate hazards before accidents occur, rather than use the resource of manpower and
materials only after injuries and damage to equipment have resulted in human suffering, significant
monetary loss which, in certain circumstances, affect the profitability severely.
The safety audits will monitor all activities performed on site, and in particular:

  • The basic safety policy and organization of the company.
  • Management commitment and example on safety matters.
  • Administration and safety activity.
  • Accident reporting and investigation.
  • Opportunity of injury – and record of every injury.
  • Safety committees.
  • Working rules and practices for each company location, including visitors and contractors.
  • Compliance with statutory regulations and company standards.
  • Behavior and unsafe acts of personnel and their relationship to compliance with safety rules.
  • Activity related certification of employees.
  • First Aid certified employees.
  • Training needs and activities.
  • Hazards review of process equipment for either new or existing facilities.
  • Operating procedures.
  • Safety work permits.
  • Emergency procedures.

Application of  safety audit:

Safety audits are conducted in order to assess the degree of compliance with the applicable safety regulatory requirements and with the procedural provisions of a Safety Management System(SMS) if one is in place. They are intended to provide assurance of the safety management functions, including staffing, compliance with applicable regulations, levels of competency and training.
Safety audits are used to ensure that:
  • Organizations SMS has a sound structure and adequate staffing levels;
  • Approved procedures and instructions are complied with;
  • The required level of personnel competency and training to operate equipment and facilities,and to maintain their levels of performance, is achieved;
  • Equipment performance is adequate for the safety levels of the service provided;
  • Effective arrangements exist for promoting safety, monitoring safety performance and processing safety issues;
  • Adequate arrangements exist to handle foreseeable emergencies.
Safety audits are carried out by a single individual or a team of people who are competent (adequately qualified, experienced and trained) and have a satisfactory degree of independence from the audited organization or unit. The frequency of the audits depends on the regulatory/management policy. For example some State authorities may conduct annual safety audits; others may consider that a full safety audit is only necessary at a few years interval.

Description of Safety Audit Practice:

Safety audit practice subjects each area of a company’s activity to a systematic critical examination
with the object of minimizing human suffering and monetary loss. Every component of the total systems included, e.g. management policy, attitudes training, features of the process, layout and construction of the plant, operating procedures, emergency plans, personal protection standards, accident records,etc.
An audit, as in the fields of accountancy, aims to disclose the strengths, the weaknesses and the
main areas of vulnerability or risk, and is carried out by appropriately qualified personnel.It is important to ensure that the attitude of all personnel to safety audit practice is positive. It may
need to be pointed out that the reason for the audit is to help the plant management to establish those areas within the plant where additional effort is required to ensure safety at all times. The audit is not there to find fault with the efforts of local manage. The safety audit is an aid to sound, safe, plant management.
Audits will involve plant operatives and review training, work experience, knowledge of procedures,
emergency procedures and other plant operating instructions.
A formal report and action plan is subsequently prepared and monitored

Safety Audit Preparation:

Step One - one week prior to the audit, inform all affected managers and supervisors. They should be directed to have all records, documents and procedures available when the audits starts.
Step Two - Review all past program area audits and corrective action recommendations.
Step Three - Review all company, local, state and federal requirements for the specific program. Become familiar with the document, inspection and training requirements.
Step Four - Determine the scope of the audit. This can be based on accident and inspection reports and input from various managers. Set a start and stop time & date for the audit.

Fact Finding:

A fact finding event is used to gather all applicable information. Auditors should make an effort not to form an opinion or make evaluative comments during this phase.
A Team Approach - If a safety audit team is used, make assignments to each person that defines their area of inspection. Ensure they have the proper program background information and documents.
Safety Audit Areas - most audits can be broken down into these areas:
Employee knowledge – OSHA standards require "effective training" - an effective program ensures that employees have the knowledge required to operate in a safe manner on a daily basis. The level of knowledge required depends on the specific activities in which the employee is involved and their specific duties and responsibilities. Generally, managers and supervisors should have a higher level of knowledge than general employees. This includes practical knowledge of program administration, management and training. They should be able to discuss all elements of each program that affects their assigned employees. Many programs divide employees into these two groups- authorized employees and affected employees. Authorized employees must have a high level of working knowledge involving hazard identification and hazard control procedures. Determining employee level of knowledge can be achieved though written quizzes, formal interviews or informal questions in the workplace.
Written Program Review - during the safety audit, a comprehensive review of the written program should be conducted. This review should compare the company program to requirements for hazard identification and control, required employee training and record keeping against the local, state and federal requirements. Additionally, if applicable, the company insurance carrier should be asked to conduct an independent written program review. Program Administration - This part of the safety audit review checks the implementation and management of specific program requirements. This section asks these and other similar questions:
• Is there an effective and on-going employee training program?
• Are specific duties and responsibilities assigned?
• Are sufficient assets provided?
• Is there an effective and on-going employee training program?
Record & Document Review - Missing or incomplete documents or records is a good indication that a program that is not working as designed. Records are the company's only means of proving that specific regulatory requirements have been met. Record review also includes a look at the results, recommendations and corrective actions from the last program audit.
Equipment and Material - This area of an safety audit inspects the material condition and applicability of the equipment for hazard control in a specific program. Examples of audit questions for this area are:
• Is the equipment in a safe condition?
• Is there adequate equipment to conduct tasks safely?
• Is personal protective equipment used and stored properly?
• Is equipment, such as exit lights, emergency lights, fire extinguishers, material storage and handling equipment designed and staged to control hazards effectively?

Types of Safety Audit

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