Your facility’s safety plan is finally providing good results. It’s been a year since your facility last encountered a non-compliance form during weekly inspections. It’s been more than a year since a worker was hurt in your facility.
This could all mean that your safety plan is working. You must remember, though, that facilities change over time and with buildings and working equipment.
To determine your safety plan’s efficiency and cost, you need to conduct a facility audit.
The Importance of Facility Audits
When a facility audit is performed, a company’s equipment, components, procedures, and policies are reviewed. It evaluates whether these elements have proper processes incorporated in its safety plan.
During an evaluation, processes are checked if they are appropriate for the equipment and if proper procedures are followed. Knowing the results of these two determines the effectiveness of a safety plan. It helps facilities prevent injuries and fatalities. It can also act as a catalyst that will drive changes to improve safety.
Facility audits also help businesses save money. How? It allows a calculated analysis of your facility’s policies and procedures. The end result is a fact-based set of changes that you need to implement within your company. This will prevent you from spending money on procedures and plans that you don’t know how to apply from the outset properly.
The Challenges of Facility Auditing
Facility audits, however, are time-consuming. Because of this, companies avoid performing them frequently.
However, when compliance with regulations and standards requires them, companies must perform a facility audit, often from a third-party consultant. Still, companies can voluntarily audit their facilities, which can be both advantageous and disadvantageous.
Voluntary audits allow facilities to decide on the scope and frequency of an audit. But they should have a certified safety officer or auditor onboard.
On the other hand, voluntary or not, facilities always find it challenging to decide whether to hire a third-party consultant or audit internally.
Whether you’re aiming for a voluntary audit, following regulations, or deciding who should audit, you should know how a facility audit works. You must be knowledgeable, if only with the basics, about the process of a facility audit. Hopefully, this article will help you understand the step-by-step process of a safety audit. It starts with the following.
Step 1: Prepare for an Audit
Document the reason for the audit and schedule when it will start. A week before this set date, inform all the supervisors and managers of affected departments. Allow them and their teams to prepare for the audit. All documents, records, procedures, and processes should be made ready for the auditors.
However, the EHS Daily Advisor has recommended against the public availability of audit documents. Considering this, make sure that all prepared documents are submitted to an audit team that will directly transact with the safety auditors. Ensure that all correspondence between the two teams is confidential.
Step 2: Conduct the Audit
The safety auditor will review all documents, procedures, policies, and written plans during the audit. It will be compared to the actual action and processes that your facility conducts.
Aside from evaluating safety policies and procedures, facility audits also identify strengths and weaknesses in your safety plan. This is observed in the documents presented to the auditors and how procedures are applied in your facility.
If there were previous audits, auditors would check if your facility could apply the past recommendations and improvements.
Step 3: Create an Audit Report
After the audit is completed, the auditors will compile their findings and summarize it into a report. It will identify the auditing team, the audited departments, and the names of employees who were interviewed. It will also include, most importantly, the recommended actions.
Audit reports are not limited to negative findings. It will also cite positive results that reflect your company’s commitment to ensuring the safety of your workers.
Step 4: Publish the Results
Publish the results of the report to your employees. Inform them how the audit went, what the results were, where the changes will be implemented, and when these improvements will be implemented.
Step 5: Apply the Recommendations
Now you can start implementing the necessary changes. However, according to the facility management website Buildings, auditors today aim for holistic safety solutions, including auditing current safety technology systems.
Considering this, you may be advised to use the latest safety technology available. A smoke containment system for elevator doors, a temperature sensor system, or new PA (public address) system will most likely be recommended.
Improve Your Facility’s Safety Plan Now
You’ll have a clear picture of your facility after the audit. You’ll have a better understanding of your facility’s condition, and this will help you apply the corrections and recommendations necessary for a cost-effective safety plan. If you haven’t had an audit yet, consider one today.