Conducting a safety audit is an effective way to reduce rates of worker injuries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 3 million nonfatal work-related injuries occur each year. When a worker is injured on the job, he or she may have to take time off in order to heal and recover. Therefore, your business will suffer from lost productivity as well as potential workers' compensation costs. By conducting a workplace safety audit, however, you can identify hazards so that they don't lead to injuries.
Review Injury Reports
You should review work-related injury reports when conducting a workplace safety audit. In other words, look through your business's records of work-related injuries to determine the types of injuries from which workers are suffering. With this information in hand, you can take the appropriate measures to eliminate hazards that would otherwise cause injuries.
Ensure Proper Recordkeeping
In addition to reviewing injury reports, you should audit your business's recordkeeping practices. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific requirements that businesses must follow in regards to keeping records about their work-related injuries and illnesses. All businesses with more than 10 employees -- except for businesses in low-risk industries -- must follow these rules. Therefore, you should review your business's recordkeeping practices to ensure they comply with OSHA's guidelines.
To learn more about OSHA's recordkeeping requirements, click here.
Get Feedback From Workers
When conducting a workplace safety audit, ask workers for feedback. As an employer, you may overlook certain hazards to which workers are exposed. By seeking feedback from workers, however, you'll be able to identify these hazards. Workers can tell you what hazards they encounter, where those hazards are located, and they can even offer recommendations on how to eliminate the hazards. In turn, you'll foster a safer workplace that protects workers from injuries.
Another essential component of a workplace safety audit is checking personal protective equipment (PPE). Like recordkeeping, OSHA has requirements regarding the use of PPE in the workplace. Employers are typically required to provide their workers with the necessary PPE.
Different businesses have different PPE requirements. Nonetheless, if a piece of equipment is needed to protect a worker from injury or illness, it's considered PPE.
Conduct at Least Once a Year
You should conduct a workplace safety audit at least once a year. All businesses, as well as their respective workplace, evolves over time. As your business and workplace changes, new safety hazards will emerge. By conducting a workplace safety hazard at least once a year, you'll stay on top of these hazards so that they don't lead to injuries.