We’ve said it many times on this blog: Your organization needs to examine its environment, health, and safety program on a regular basis. It’s the only way to spot potential hazards and compliance issues before anyone gets hurt or gets in trouble with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, or another regulatory authority.
The million dollar question is how?
Do you build a program completely in-house? Do you lean on external consultants to run the program for you? Do you build a hybrid model? Let’s walk through the positives and negatives of different approaches.
As a reminder, there are two kinds of safety examinations:
Inspections are routine checks for immediate safety concerns like unguarded machinery, cluttered working surfaces, and poorly constructed ladders and walkways.
Audits are less frequent, but wider-ranging assessments that comprise everything—not just the physical safety controls, but also less tangible factors such as workforce policy adoption, safety data collection, and efficiency of business processes.
You can certainly tackle both of these without the help of an independent safety professional, but it’s best to weigh the pros and cons before you settle on a path.
In-House Audits and Inspections:
Looking at the Pro Side of the Page
Outsourced Audit and Inspections: Looking at the Con Side of the Page
According to a recent article in EHS Daily Advisor: “[I]f not properly managed, audits can create an incriminating paper trail that can substantiate violations, heighten liability for negligence, and even trigger criminal prosecutions.”
In other words, if not conducted with extreme caution, an audit without a safety consultant can actually increase rather than decrease your risks. It’s like choosing to represent yourself in court—which is where you may find yourself after trying to self-audit.
Why would you lean on consultants for your audit program? It’s a matter of resources, expertise, and perspective.
Ultimately, the decision is yours.
Make sure it’s well-considered.
Regardless of how your pro and con list turns out, we’ve got the tools to help you succeed. For organizations taking their audit & inspection program in-house, KPA’s customizable audit and inspection functionality is fully decked out to support your program.
If you’re looking to supplement your program with some outside expertise, we’ve got an army of safety consultants ready to help you succeed.