Having an independent audit of your health, safety and environmental programs and processes is a key element of any well managed safety program. Auditing provides an unbiased analysis and sheds light on any gaps within the programs and processes—all with the intent of helping the organization continuously improve.
The biggest reasons why audit programs fail are that they aren’t formalized, don’t have any teeth and they’re carried out by the very people who manage the programs being audited. In other words, the fox is guarding the henhouse!
Even though no two audits are ever alike, the way the audit program is carried out shouldn’t change. Every audit that’s carried out should have the same processes and tools and should be managed the same way every time. Doing things this way gives the audit program some formality which helps establish credibility and value.
There are four really important things that every audit should include.
Audit Confirmation Letter
Every audit should start out with a notice of intent to audit, often called an Audit Confirmation Letter. This letter is sent to the person in charge of the facility or department being audited by the person in charge of the audit. This letter serves as a formal notification of the impending audit, includes a little bit of information about the audit and what can be expected during the audit.
Audit Plan and Schedule
Attached to the Audit Confirmation Letter should be an Audit Plan & Schedule. This document is really important because it includes the logistics and scope of the audit as well as the schedule the auditors will keep during the audit. It also defines any items that will be needed by the audit team to ensure a smooth audit—like Wi-Fi access and a private place to work. This document also helps the location being audited by giving them ample time to rearrange schedules and ensure people will be available during the audit.
Document Request Log
Another item frequently used during an audit is something called a Document Request Log. This document is critical to managing the audit process and ensuring good communication between the audit team and the location being audited. Essentially, this document lists all of the recordkeeping items that will be audited such as written programs, inspection records, completed forms, permits, training records, etc., and provides a way for the auditors to record who requested it, who provided it for review and who reviewed it. In addition to helping the auditors keep organized and make sure they’ve reviewed everything, if the audit manager provides this document in advance, it can also help the location being audited properly prepare for the audit.
Final Safety Audit Report
The last item that every audit should have is a Final Safety Audit Report. This report is what the audit team provides to the location at the end of the audit that outlines each finding and provides other details such as a severity rating and pictures if they were taken. This report is the only item the location being audited will have to work off of when then audit is completed, so it’s really critical to provide this item. A good Final Audit Report also provides a formality to the audit process!
Download the Audit Program and Safety Audit Report Templates
If you’d love to have all these documents but aren’t sure where to find them or how to create them, don’t worry! We’ve created each one in template form that can be downloaded for use as is or that can be modified to suit your needs.