Conducting an Internal Safety Audit

Originally published March 21, 2017

Safety should be the first concern on every construction site. To enhance your company’s safety culture, it’s a good idea to periodically perform an internal safety audit. An audit is a systematic or methodical review. It’s a time to examine with the intent to verify and/or rectify. When you take the time to perform your own, internal audit and make the necessary changes, you will not only enhance the safety of everyone on your construction site, but you will also reduce the possibility of being cited if you ever have an OSHA audit.

Here are some elements of a safety audit:

  • Include the entire organization.
  • Use a variety of assessment tools (e.g. interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, observations and document reviews).
  • Appoint a designated team representing all organizational levels and functions of the company to carry out the self-audit.
  • Include a specialist in safety culture on the team.
  • Train team members on how to perform a self-audit. Examples of things to look for include:
    • The correct PPE for each particular job on the site (e.g. correct eye protection, gloves, footwear, chemical aprons or harnesses).
    • Is the PPE is in good condition? If it is not, repair or replace it.
    • Do workers have the correct tools for the job and are they are in good condition?
    • Are workers properly trained to operate tools or equipment?
    • Verify that all harmful energy sources around the work area(s) have been identified and isolated.
    • Do workers inspect heavy equipment daily?
    • Do workers know the location of the fire extinguishers and how to use them? Are they in good condition?
    • Test the back-up alarms on heavy equipment.
    • Is there a list of hazardous materials for this job site?
    • Are hazardous materials in the proper containers with correct labels?
    • Do employees practice good housekeeping and material storage?
    • Are barricades/debris protection and warning signs in place?
    • Are excavation sites and trenches properly protected?
    • Do employees know where the first aid kits are located, and is there someone on the site certified in first aid? Is eye wash available?
  • It is a good practice for the designated audit team to summarize the results of their audit and identify areas for improvement and suggest actions to be taken.
  • Report the results of the self-audit to management at the appropriate level.
  • Do a follow-up self-audit to determine if all recommended changes and improvements have been made.

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