Compliance initiatives are necessary because they validate that our safety program is in accordance with established guidelines, specifications, and legislation—and that the components of the program are being executed as expected. Safety compliance management is a prevalent business concern and is crucial to ensuring that responsibility and accountability are being maintained.
A well-managed compliance program is more than a validation that we are following established rules. It is also a means of driving knowledge and education. It is a means of targeting vulnerabilities and improving performance. It is a statement of commitment. It is a vehicle to help us achieve our expected results and a confirmation of best practices. Our dedication to program compliance sets the tone for the success of the program, and the achievement of a safer and more productive working environment.
An audit can be a tremendous tool in helping us to validate safety in the workplace, as well as bringing attention to location strengths and deficiencies. A well-conceived safety audit will provide a snapshot of the strength of the safety program within a given facility. Audit elements should reflect the spectrum of safety topics and assess the scope of performance across a latitude of possibilities in order to appraise compliance. Questions and answers should reveal the level of conformity to policies, practices and procedures as well as assessing the awareness and understanding of the employees.
By the same respect, it is how that information is used that will add value to the safety program. A well-managed audit program not only evaluates safety performance, but also serves as an effective teaching and training tool that enhances that performance. Loss prevention should not only identify opportunities for improvement; the LP team should also educate on the reasons a particular issue is important, how it can potentially impact the safety of our customers and employees, and how we can make improvements. We should also recognize exceptional performance when it exists. We have to maintain a positive, objective approach when handling safety compliance management.
The audit should provide benchmarks for safety success, but must also apply a process for continuing improvement. Such benchmarks should provide a known reference point that identifies targeted knowledge, strategies and skills as well as the breadth and depth of compliance. Performance indicators should be selected that will help determine whether success has been achieved or whether improvements need to be made.
While the audit evaluates the quality of safety program design and performance, the inspection is intended to examine conditions in the workplace. Safety inspections are critical evaluations intended to determine whether company equipment, facilities and processes conform to applicable or specified safety requirements, and to identify hazards and potential hazardous conditions that may lead to injury and other safety concerns. Such inspections are typically conducted on a scheduled or routine basis to ensure that hazards and potential issues are quickly identified and corrected.
A safety inspection program will typically outline who will conduct the inspections, the areas/equipment/conditions to be inspected, the frequency of the inspections, and the documentation requirements for inspection results. Written checklists can clearly outline critical components of the inspection to direct attention where common hazards exist. This also ensures examination and documents the assessments.
Corrective action and follow-up systems are important elements of every safety inspection process. Temporary and long-term action plans to correct the safety issue, action dates when the plan will be completed and the hazard will be corrected, and additional steps to avoid reoccurrence should all be included in the inspection model.
By capitalizing on opportunities to enhance our knowledge and education on safety compliance management, we are making an investment in our own future. To learn more, discover the professional growth opportunities available through the Loss Prevention Foundation.
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