Having spent years in industries, have seen people getting confused between HSE Inspection & Audit, though both are proactive monitoring techniques to improve the workplace safety conditions but its use & usefulness is quite different.
Let’s try to understand:
HSE Inspection objectives should be identifying the hazards, assess the effectiveness of existing control measures and suggesting remedial actions where the current measures are inadequate.
HSE inspections are generally carried out by frontline supervisors, managers, safety representatives primarily to identify the unsafe acts and unsafe conditions at the workplace. Suitable checklists with pre-defined issues are used during inspections.
HSE Audit objective is to check the adequacy of the process or framework set up for the implementation of HSE management within the organization.
The HSE Audit process includes a review of various documentation, inspection of workplace and interaction with all connected personnel aswell. The audit is carried by a person (s) who possess suitable qualification & competency.
While inspection conducted on certain pre-defined parameters, audit is all about the assessment of processes (questions like why, who, how etc. are part of audit technique).
Inspection reviews specific point at a time and generates actions while audit is a complex process.