Internal Audit Best Practices: How to Ensure Your Facility’s Process Checklists Comply With New OSHA Standards

By GoCanvas Team on May 1, 2023

Job site inspection is a critical step for manufacturing, material storage, and other industries, especially if they want to maintain compliance with new regulatory requirements and standards. You might have checklists to help you conduct inspections of your facilities. However, you may worry that these checklists are becoming outdated and non-compliant. So how do you ensure your internal audit complies with the required standards?

It’s important to ensure your job site inspections are thorough and maintain a safe workplace to protect your employees, equipment, and products. This is particularly the case with the recent standards put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) amid the COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA’s current guidelines for job site inspections appear under the 1926.20 standard. By taking the right steps, you’ll be able to comply with these and other requirements.

Not sure how to keep your inspection processes and checklists up to date? The following are some internal audit best practices for job site inspections and optimizing your checklists.

Conduct Frequent Inspections Based on Priority

To avoid OSHA violations and other breaches, you should prioritize inspections and check different types of equipment at varying frequencies.

For example, you may want to conduct weekly inspections for the following areas:

  • Fall protection
  • Scaffolds
  • Procedures for electrical power
  • Operator and crane certification
  • Ladders and stairways

Meanwhile, you should inspect the following on a daily basis to facilitate a safe environment:

  • Power tools
  • Aerial lifts
  • Forklifts
  • Rigging
  • Slings
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Other heavy machinery and equipment

In addition, in accordance with OSHA requirements, you should conduct monthly inspections of cranes, hoists, fire extinguishers, self-breathing apparatuses and respirators, and safety and eyewash showers. 

Properly Prepare for Each Internal Audit

Before conducting each internal audit and inspection, you must know the specific approach you want to take. This helps you determine who will conduct the inspection and what types of PPE they’ll need to perform it safely. 

Remember, according to OSHA’s 1920.20 standard, “Such programs shall provide for frequent and regular inspections of the job sites, materials, and equipment to be made by competent persons designated by employers.” This statement establishes that you must choose someone who qualifies as a “competent person” as OSHA defines them.

Specifically, a competent person is someone who can accurately identify existing and potential workplace hazards that could cause harm to employees. This person must also have the authority to properly address these hazards and create a safer work environment. Ideally, the “competent person” who conducts every internal audit will have adequate training and knowledge of OSHA standards and proper inspection procedures.

Check for PPE

One of the main changes to OSHA standards in recent years is increased emphasis on PPE for employees. To comply with OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I standard, employers must conduct PPE assessments to identify and address any potential workplace hazards, as well as ensure that employees use the proper PPE as needed. 

For example, this standard requires the use of respirators under certain circumstances to protect employees. If employees require these respirators, employers must have a reliable respiratory protection program to comply with OSHA’s standard for Respiratory Protection, 29 CFR 1910.134.

Track Key Data

When conducting inspections, document all findings and track vital data that can help you continually improve your facility’s safety. This data will give you actionable insights into any potential deficiencies in your safety practices. You can then decide on the best course of action to eliminate these deficiencies and create a safer workplace.

Keep Up With OSHA’s Standards

To further keep your practices and checklists updated, it helps to remain aware of OSHA’s existing standards. Doing so will help you remain consistently compliant and avoid potential violations.

One way to stay current is to check OSHA’s news releases, which will detail any notable changes the agency makes to its standards. You can then apply these changes to your preparation phase and checklists. 

Consider Previous Reports

Learn from your previous workplace safety and inspection efforts by looking at past reports. You should review everything from the results of previous inspections and incident investigation reports to workers’ comp insurance details and any near misses that could have resulted in more serious accidents.

Based on the knowledge you glean from previous inspections, you can determine what areas of your business require more thorough inspections and changes. Over time, you’ll be able to perfect your inspection procedures and checklists based on the most significant risks to your business. In turn, you’ll minimize the risk of workplace incidents and maintain compliance with all current regulatory requirements.

Use Digital Checklists

Another way to keep your checklists in top shape is to use digital checklists in lieu of outdated paper versions. Digital checklists also offer more flexibility that will help ensure you’re always working with information that keeps you compliant. 

You can use premade checklist templates from a trusted third party that will equip your business with a comprehensive checklist that’s up to date. As OSHA standards and other regulatory requirements evolve, you can make corresponding changes to your checklist. 

One of the main advantages of digital checklists is their shareability. In fact, employees can view and make changes to these checklists using their mobile devices. They can then share these checklists with authorized parties across devices and systems to ensure everyone is working with the latest version. You’ll no longer need to manually update your checklists with the help of reliable digital versions.

Optimize Your Inspections and Checklists With GoCanvas

If you’re looking for the right tools to help you maintain safety and compliance in your workplace, GoCanvas is here to help. We offer digital checklist templates and thousands of other form templates that connect your offices and job sites. Easily download and optimize our checklist templates for use on any device, without any need for coding skills. With the help of our templates, you’ll remain compliant with OSHA standards as well as many other industry regulations, keeping your workplace safe and protecting your bottom line. Learn more about GoCanvas by requesting a demo, or try it for free today. You’ll be able to find the right forms that keep you compliant and maximize the efficiency of each internal audit.