Resources - Safety Auditing

Effective Audit Recommendations

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:

  • Management leadership
  • Employee involvement
  • Program Planning
  • Hazard anticipation, analysis and controls
  • Program Implementation and Operation
  • System analysis
  • System evaluation
  • Management review

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:

  • ILO SMS
  • ISO 14001
  • ANSI Z10-2005
  • OHSAS 18001
  • VPP/SHARP

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:

  • OSHA consultants
  • Insurer representatives
  • Private consultants
  • Industry association consultants

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:

  • safety manager
  • safety engineer
  • human resource coordinator
  • safety committee

Source: OSHAcademy

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