Industries which handle large quantities of hazardous substances are required to demonstrate their capability to design, locate, operate and maintain facilities to standards acceptable to the Govt. and public.
There is no single ideal system of Hazard identification procedures. Among the tools available for occupiers and managers of hazardous installations to check and reassure the effectiveness of procedures and methods followed on safety, the most useful tool is Safety Audit. Health and Safety Executive of UK defines Safety Audit, “as the structured process of collecting independent information on the efficiency, effectiveness and reliability of the total health and safety management system and drawing up plan for corrective action”.
Safety Audit is normally carried out by an outside team and will examine all facilities and activities of an organisation from the angle of safety, assess the current level of prevention, protection and emergency management preparedness and subsequently prepare an action plan to upgrade safety inputs to avert mishaps and limit consequences.
Safety Audits are normally conducted with following objectives:
To carry out a systematic, critical appraisal of all potential hazards involving personnel, plant, services and operation method; and to ensure that Safety and Health system fully satisfy the legal requirement and those of the company’s written safety policies, objectives and progress.
Depending on the requirements of the organisations, the audit can focus attention on the following aspects of a safety system:
Safety Management systems.
Fire and Explosion prevention, protection and emergency management.
Work injury prevention.
Health hazards control.
Evaluating emergency plan if already available.
After the objectives of the study are accepted next step would be collection of information. A detailed description of type of data that need to be collected is sent on acceptance of this proposal.
After analysing the information by the audit team members a schedule is prepared after discussing with the factory management. Site study will be undertaken on mutual convenience and during the audit an attempt will be made by the audit team members to identify the activities that can lead to major fires, explosions and toxic releases which will have both onsite and off site consequences.
After the site study a preliminary report is prepared and submitted with in 2 weeks and a final report is submitted within the agreed time frame.
Benefits of Safety Audit are:
Identifies loss producing events.
Assess the potential losses associated with the risk.
Identifies measures to minimise the losses.
Identifies system deficiencies.