As Prevention is the Key to Increasing & Sustaining Safety, American Society of Safety Engineers Urge Companies to Start 2008 with a Safety Audit
Des Plaines, IL (January 7, 2008) — As comprehensive safety, health and environmental (SH&E) audit programs is an important tool of a world-class safety program contributing greatly to reducing on-the-job injuries and illnesses and protecting a company’s assets, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) urge companies to start the new year by conducting an audit. SH&E auditing allows businesses aided by their SH&E practitioners to assess workplace hazards and risks in an effort to protect people, property and the environment.
“Audits are one of the key tools we, as occupational safety, health and environmental practitioners, use in our ongoing efforts to reduce on-the-job injuries, illnesses and fatalities worldwide,” ASSE President Michael W. Thompson, CSP, who will be conducting a site audit this week, said today. “Many ASSE members, their employers and other worksites already have comprehensive programs in place. Those companies who have not taken a serious look at their worksites via a SH&E audit are strongly encouraged to get started.
“Once a systematic auditing program is developed and implemented consistently, you will have a program that will prove to be an invaluable tool for a company’s business sustainability. With the new year, what better time to start,” Thompson added. “Our members have the expertise to assist business and labor formulate an effective program to fully understand the SH&E risks and hazards in businesses today and offer timely and cost effective solutions.”
When conducting an SH&E audit, safety professionals should use a specific checklist or protocol that reflect internal conformance requirements, legal and regulatory compliance, and good industry-specific practice. These tools will provide the basis for management decisions affecting the organization’s SH&E programs. A comprehensive audit program involves identifying the audit objectives then defining and planning the audit; conducting the audit; analyzing the audit findings, developing and implementing corrective actions and methods to track those actions and the benefits of each; developing metrics to gauge the auditing process and developing a final report of the audit results and conclusions.
“SH&E auditors often find they have the opportunity to strengthen working relationships and breakdown barriers, if they exist,” Thompson added. “Basically, the auditor assesses the real time status of the entity’s SH&E program, diagnoses weaknesses and strengths and prescribes a course to recovery and/or moving forward. To do this the safety professional conducting the audit should have a strong knowledge of SH&E audit principles and regulatory requirements, be objective, open-minded, diplomatic, an effective communicator and have the ability to earn trust and respect.”
A comprehensive SH&E audit process should include:
· reviewing the record of accidents, injuries, and illnesses sustained by employees since the previous audit;
· analyzing the resources devoted to identifying and controlling hazards, to employee training, and to safety motivation and recognition;
· ascertaining the extent to which various levels of management are actively involved in accident prevention;
· evaluating the results of physical inspections of the premises and observations of personnel performing operations that accident records show have been hazardous; and
· developing timely and effective corrective action plans to mitigate hazards identified during the audit in order to prevent reoccurrence.
Audits are used in all industries and can be used at home or in one’s community to increase neighborhood safety. The American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) A10.39-1996 (R2005) standard Construction Safety and Health Audit Program, a standard which establishes an internal method of measuring safety and health program compliance, is a tool the construction industry uses for SH&E auditing.
ASSE members note that a properly conducted SH&E audit will identify loss leaders that impact a company’s bottom line and compliance gaps. They are considered added value components that senior management will understand and support.
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 31,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education. For more information please go to www.asse.org and for the ASSE Management Practice Specialty’s “Safety Audits That Make A Difference” article by ASSE members Ralph Kolts, CQA, and Edwin L. “Brownie” Petersen, CSHM, or “Planning and Conducting a SH&E Audit” by ASSE member Jack Fearing, CPEA, please click here: