How do we organize and conduct an initial safety audit of our facility if we don't have a Certified Safety Professional on staff?
The initial safety audit of a workplace or new jobsite should be a comprehensive hazard assessment to identify the physical, chemical, and atmospheric worker exposures that will dictate a significant portion of a company’s safety program.
This initial effort will focus the program on specific administrative and engineering controls, training and PPE requirements, authorization protocols, and reporting obligations so that the policies and procedures will efficiently direct the company and the workers' attention. The goal of the hazard assessment and requisite decisions is to either remove these hazards from the workplace altogether, prevent worker over-exposure, or as a last resort, provide adequate personal protection from over-exposures.
If existing staff are not knowledgeable in workplace safety protocols, it is advisable to employ, even temporarily, a qualified HS&E professional with applicable industry experience to assist those responsible for program development. In addition, there are online resources available (many for free) that can help educate those responsible for program implementation, responsibility tracking, and hazard identification. For example, check out OSHA's website for resources, including their Hazard Identification Training Tool.
If your company does not employ a full-time safety professional, or the one that is employed lacks industry experience, I advise you to hire an experienced safety consultant who will be able to help you get started.
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