As a software provider we are often asked to suggest different templates for helping clients to manage audits and inspections. The benefits of Quality, Environmental, Health and Safety (QEHS) software tools are that it makes managing all audits and inspections a much easier task. However we want to help clients ensure that they are doing the right type of audits and inspections.
One fundamental question that must be answered is: ‘Why are we doing these audits and inspections?’
The answer is that these activities are a very important control method for managing hazards and risks. And each organisation will have different hazards and risks depending on the nature of their activities. Logically then each organisation would need to have different templates for audits and inspections, but the truth is not so bad.
Management systems have been developed to standardise the way that organisations manage risk. A good audit will then look at each of the elements of the management system and ensure that each part is working as required e.g., training, reviews, documentation etc.
Inspections on the other hand will focus on more specific aspects such as housekeeping or other important controls that need to be kept in order. They are a compliance check. They need to verify that the standards established set by the organisation are being achieved. Of course, if no standards have been set e.g., for housekeeping etc, then of course it’s very hard to say what level of compliance was achieved.
Assuming that you have a robust system in place for identifying hazards and their related controls (please refer to Ask About Risk’s Health & Safety Wiki for a free helpfile for this) then a good reference source would be a publication from the American Chemical Society called Safety Audit / Inspection Manual.
We would be delighted to promote similar reference sources if they become known to us.