When you hear the word “audits,” you may experience an involuntary shudder and moment of mindless terror as you envision Internal Revenue Service agents descending on your financial statements.
You may also simply sigh and get on with your day, which is a more common reaction. However, the IRS is not the only entity that performs this kind of investigation. Many businesses often audit their own processes, finances, and systems in order to improve on existing operations and see what changes need to be made.
There are internal audits, done from within the company and reported to management. There are also external ones where an outside party, such as an independent accounting firm carries them out and sends findings to other involved individuals like shareholders; they may also be completed by consultation firms like the one cofounded by Ari Betof as part of a strategy to fix or streamline performance.
One important kind of internal auditing is safety auditing, a detailed review of an organization’s safety management system. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019 saw a 2% rise in fatal workplace injuries, with 5,333 reported that year.
Safety audits can help ward off potentially harmful accidents by identifying deviations from regulations and flaws in safety programs. There are certain things that need to be included in such examinations for maximum effectiveness.
Good organization is part of the foundation for success. Thorough records of incident reports and inspection results are necessary because audit teams need to review all prior documents in order to identify existing and possible problem areas. Having relevant information and checklists of regulations and objectives helps auditors to avoid missing things.
While springing surprise assessments on workers may be a good way to make sure they are actually doing their duties at acceptable standards, it is not an advisable tactic when it comes to safety audits. With these, it is best to give advance warning so that those being evaluated may prepare the necessary documents, records, and procedures. Those actually doing the process also need time to get ready and look over past records.
Data Analysis Audits
A major step in the auditing process is the analysis of the data gathered. Calculations, models, and software are all important tools that help isolate patterns, problem spots, and anomalies. There are four questions that need to be answered by the end of the procedure. They are:
- Are the program requisites present?
- Are all regulations and industry practice requirements met?
- Can the employees apply the necessary safety procedures (is the current training regime sufficient)?
- Is there recorded proof of compliance?
Regular safety audits are vital to ensuring the security of employees. They also ensure compliance with regulations. They need to be carried out by competent individuals who are well-versed in the required OSHA regulations, standards, and laws.
If the assessors are from within the company, they need to be impartial. Afterward, any violations need to be addressed in order of severity/priority. Steps need to be taken to not only correct them but also inform managers and supervisors of the actions taken. Properly performed, a safety audit can save lives.
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