News / Workplace Safety 101: Why You Need to Conduct a Safety Audit

Workplace Safety 101: Why You Need to Conduct a Safety Audit

Workplace Safety 101: Why You Need to Conduct a Safety Audit

If you are responsible for employees as a site or business manager, you are accountable for their safety and wellbeing at work. Everyone has the right to come to work and go home safe, and it’s your responsibility as a supervisor to ensure this. One of the most important ways to guarantee safety on your site is with a safety audit.

Site audits are a legal requirement according to the Workplace and Safety Act—a legislation that sets the standard for policies, regulations, and programs to ensure a safe environment for everyone on site. It also requires employers to adopt best safety practices, as well as to implement a safety management system, to guarantee the health of workers both in the workplace and on-site.

 

When Are Safety Audits Carried Out?

Whether you are a building owner or Health and Safety Manager, you must have an up-to-date workplace safety framework at all times. Official auditors can and will visit at random times, without warning, armed with numerous safety audit questions you will be required to answer.

The auditors will check your compliance with all the health and safety regulations, along with your culture of safety. They will try to detect gaps and weaknesses in the processes and systems to spot possible hazards to workers. However, worker safety behavior and practices are not on their list of responsibilities.

 

Why Do You Need to Conduct a Workplace Safety Audit?

Safety audits are a legal requirement, but they are also highly beneficial. A safety audit will highlight gaps in your safety measures which could put workers at risk and recommend ways to address those gaps. If existing safety measures are not functioning as designed, a safety audit will highlight this as well.

In a nutshell, safety audits can:

  • Uncover safety or health risks
  • Reduce the chances of an incident
  • Inform employees on workplace hazards
  • Make sure your site complies with legal requirements for workplace safety and health
  • Improve efficiency, productivity and workplace morale
  • Assess the effectiveness of existing safety management systems
  • Identify whether employees are engaged in workplace safety
  • Check the integrity of your personal protection equipment
  • Evaluate the adequacy of supervisors’ safety training and performance

Furthermore, safety audits help to significantly reduce workplace accidents, meaning employees can work safely, and minimize potential emotional, physical, and financial impacts.

Safety audits are usually carried out using a safety audit checklist. These should be actioned regularly, and treated distinctly from intermittent safety inspections carried out by regulatory agencies. Being proactive about employee safety can save a lot of pain in the future.

 

The Singapore government has outlined how often certain workplaces should carry out safety audits, depending on company size and activity:

Type of workplace

How often to audit

Any worksite with a contract sum of $30 million or more At least once every 6 months
Any shipyard employing 200 or more people At least once every 12 months
Any factory engaged in manufacturing fabricated metal products, machinery or equipment, and which employs 100 or more people At least once every 12 months
Any factory that processes or manufactures petroleum, petroleum products, petrochemicals or petrochemical products At least once every 24 months
Any premises that stores toxic or flammable liquids at a storage capacity of 5,000 or more cubic meters At least once every 24 months
Any factory manufacturing fluorine, chlorine, hydrogen fluoride, carbon monoxide and synthetic polymers At least once every 24 months
Any factory manufacturing pharmaceutical products or their intermediates At least once every 24 months
Any factory manufacturing semiconductor wafers At least once every 24 months

You can view the full official guidelines for how often a site audit should be carried out in Singapore by clicking here.

 

What Are The Standard Steps of a Safety Audit?

Safety audits are most effective when planned and carried out systematically. If you’re unsure what your safety audit framework should contain, the following guidelines might be useful.

 

1.  Do your research

Having a solid grasp of the safety considerations of your workplace, as well as the emergencies and accidents which could occur, is vital. You should always carry out preliminary research and look up the corresponding local legislation and practice regulations.

 

2.  Create a checklist

This checklist should be well-defined per work area. Carrying out extensive research on your particular workplace safety considerations will help refine this audit checklist.

The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore has guidelines to help construction companies outline their own checklists. This document, which is locally known as a Construction Safety Audit Scoring System (ConSASS), must be submitted before work can begin on projects with a workplace sum contract of $30 million or more.

Similarly, the Workplace Safety and Health Council’s Site Assessment Checklist can also be a good reference when building a comprehensive safety audit checklist.

 

3.  Conduct a preliminary inspection

You need not wait for official auditors to do this. You can take note of areas, surfaces, and equipment that need maintenance, repair, or replacement prior to full inspections. Inspect safety records, policies and procedures, and reports of accidents and injuries of each department. This will help uncover areas where more personal protective equipment and safety training should be introduced, as well as how the company has performed since the last audit.

You may also opt to consult with external experts for an unbiased assessment of your site.

 

4.  Visit all work areas yourself

Begin the formal inspection by following the items defined in the safety audit checklist. If any area is non-compliant with your checklist, make a record. Ask on-duty managers and employees enough questions in order for you to create a complete, detailed report.

 

5.  Write your audit report

Once complete, draft an official version of the audit’s findings. The report should highlight any noteworthy observations and recommendations to enhance workplace safety. It must be written in contrast with the most recent audit to illustrate how receptive to suggestions and committed to safety the organization is.

 

The 5S Principles to Ensure Workplace Safety

To make your site audit as effective as possible, you might consider employing the Japanese safety audit system known as the ‘5S’ principles.

The Japanese are renowned for their discipline and organization, and the 5S safety audit is based on a system of organizing the workplace to limit or eliminate risks and hazards. The 5S principles are:

  • Seiri - ‘Sort’: identify which objects in your workplace need to be there and which ones don’t. Speak with your teams and de-clutter areas based on their needs. Relocate, recycle or remove items which are not needed.
  • Seiton - ‘Set in order’: once you have identified which items need to remain, you should then organise them to ensure everything has a place, such as in equipment storage cupboards or on a shadow board. This keeps the item out of the way while making it easily accessible.
  • Seiso - ‘Shine’: regularly clean and maintain equipment to keep it functional. This also has the added benefit of highlighting issues outside of a specific safety audit.
  • Seiketsu - ‘Standardize’: standardize your new process with a checklist or schedule, ensuring your hard work is not undone over the next few months and years.
  • Shitsuke - ‘Sustain’: continue carrying out the above steps regularly to maintain a high level of safety and organisation.

You can implement these principles in your audit. The 5S process assesses what is currently present, removes the unnecessary, organises what remains, prioritises housekeeping tasks, and establishes a cycle.

Once you have established this routine, it will become ever-present in your safety audit framework, making the process streamlined and designed for success.

 

Who Can Perform Safety Audits in Singapore?

In Singapore, there are a number of companies that are accredited by the government to offer workplace safety audits. Some of them are listed below:

 

A Star Safety Consultants Pte Ltd

50 Playfair Road #03-02D Noel Building Singapore 367995
Telephone No: 6287 3622
Scope: Construction worksite / bizSAFE RM audit

 

Absolute Kinetic Consultancy Pte Ltd

64 Hillview Terrace Singapore 669277
Telephone No: 66905555
Scope: Construction worksite / bizSAFE RM audit

 

ACE EHS Singapore Pte Ltd

3 Elm Avenue Eden Park Singapore 279780
Telephone No: 8821 8265 / 9380 4198
Scope: Construction worksite / bizSAFE RM audit

 

ACE Plus Workplace Consultancy LLP

318D King George’s Avenue #05-01 King George’s Building Singapore 208563
Telephone No: 91080728
Scope: Construction worksite / bizSAFE RM audit

 

ACME Consultancy and Services Pte Ltd

22 Sin Ming Lane #06-76 Midview City Singapore 573969
Telephone No: 6871 4213
Scope: Construction worksite / bizSAFE RM audit

 

6 Acredo Consultancy Pte Ltd

140 Paya Lebar Road #10-09 [email protected] Lebar Singapore 409015
Telephone: 67026163
Scope: Construction worksite / bizSAFE RM audit

 

ACTS System Methodologies Pte Ltd

3 Soon Lee Street #02-13 Pioneer Junction Singapore 627606
Telephone No: 94756363
Scope: Construction worksite / bizSAFE RM audit

 

Advanced Safety Management Services Pte Ltd

20 Peck Seah Street #05-00 Singapore 079312
Telephone No: 6570 0386
Scope: Construction worksite / bizSAFE RM audit

 

Aegis Certification Pte Ltd

11 Woodlands Close, #08-20, Woodlands 11 Singapore 737853
Telephone No: 9271 0238
Scope: bizSAFE RM audit

 

Anzen Consultancy Pte Ltd

60 Kaki Bukit Place #08-01 Eunos Techpark Singapore 415979
Telephone No: 6547 8201
Scope: Construction worksite / bizSAFE RM audit

 

For the full list of certified auditing firms in Singapore, go to WSH Auditing Services.

 

Conclusion

A comprehensive safety audit can promote a culture of safety in the workplace and minimize accidents, however, it requires a strong commitment from management and employees to be effective. This is why it is vital to work with companies that are certified to conduct safety audits.

In addition to a workplace safety audit, there are other types of precautionary measures and services that you can implement to further strengthen your safety frameworks such as a roof audit and site surveys.

 

At Kee Safety Singapore, we offer these services alongside our leading fall protection equipment and work at height safety solutions. To ensure that companies comply with regulatory requirements when they begin new safety projects from start to finish, we also provide other turnkey solutions such as consultation, installation, and after care.

The type of audit you need will depend on your business, and must be calibrated to include the unique areas of your site. Overall, it must be as comprehensive as possible. When safety is involved, no stone should be left unturned.