An effective audit should be designed such that the following criteria are incorporated:
1. The Safety Management System (SMS) should be auditable. Written plans, policies, procedures, and rules should include "shall" statements. This helps ensure the SMS is auditable. A system replete with "should" is not considered "official" and is much more difficult to support in an effort to achieve certification or registration.
2. The SMS plan should contain a two-tiered approach. The first tier or general plan addresses non-technical variables that might be most useful in for low-hazard industries and processes. A second tier or comprehensive plan contains more technical criteria required for high-hazard industries and processes. A useful SMS development strategy might be to first complete a general audit followed by a more comprehensive audit.
3. The SMS plan should address established elements. Established and recognized SMS variables should be the basis for the development of both a general and comprehensive SMS. Examples include:
4. Full participation in the audit process. All employees, supervisors, and managers should participate in the development and implementation of the SMS. Ownership by all employees is critical to the success of the SMS. Bottom line: We value what we own.
5. Base the SMS plan on established guidelines. Don't try to "invent" an SMS. The work has been done. You should draw on the principles in established standards like those detailed in the following SMS documents:
These published standards have received wide acceptance. Many organizations who have implemented SMS's, even in accordance with schemes developed by others, have followed the principles contained within one or more of these standards.
6. Consult third-party experts. Take advantage of expert knowledge and skills to evaluate the SMS plan. Invite one or more of the following to assist in development and implementation of the SMS:
7. SMS structure. All systems have structure as well as inputs, processes and outputs. The structure of the SMS is important. Make sure the SMS includes at a minimum the following functions:
Copyright ©2000-2019 Geigle Safety Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Federal copyright prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means without permission. Disclaimer: This material is for training purposes only to inform the reader of occupational safety and health best practices and general compliance requirement and is not a substitute for provisions of the OSH Act of 1970 or any governmental regulatory agency. CertiSafety is a division of Geigle Safety Group, Inc., and is not connected or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).