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Safety Review

Last updated: March 3, 2019

What Does Safety Review Mean?

A safety review is an examination of the workplace for hazards and elements that increase worker safety risk, as well as an examination of the effectiveness of safety-related actions that have been taken to decrease safety risks.

Safety reviews are typically conducted as part of an organization’s safety policy, and they are used to determine both whether the policy is being followed and whether it is effective.

Safeopedia Explains Safety Review

Safety reviews can be contrasted with safety audits. Safety audits are used to determine whether an employer is in legal and technical compliance with the regulatory and consensus safety standards that are applicable within a given jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong, use the term “safety review” as a synonym for a government safety inspection. The term is also used by various governments in non-occupational contexts.

A safety review provides an employer with a full assessment of workplace hazards. Workplaces that conduct safety reviews do so to understand the current level of safety risk and to assess whether there are opportunities for improvement. For this reason, safety reviews are often used as part of project management methodologies such as Lean.

Safety reviews may be undertaken as a result of government policy or as part of a firm’s internal safety policies. In some jurisdictions, especially in workplace environments where there is an elevated level of safety risk, a safety review is a required practice. For instance, jurisdictions such as the Canadian province of Ontario require “pre-start” safety reviews prior to engaging in certain safety-sensitive activities for the first time. These legally required safety reviews typically include both risk and hazard analyses that provide the employer with general information about the level of risk in the workplace, as well as a safety audit that includes information about whether the workplace is in line with applicable standards.

At its basic level, a safety review acts as a way for employers to meet their due diligence obligations. Occupational health and safety authorities in advanced countries provide employers with a general duty obligation to ensure that their employees are able to work safely. The safety review process is part of how an employer may meet this requirement. Because many health and safety regulations only require that employers do the bare minimum to ensure workplace safety, the safety review process also gives employers a way to increase workplace safety to a level above what is prescribed by legal requirement.


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