Inspections, Investigations, and Audits

Inspections, Investigations and Audits are a necessary part of the Safety process and therefore should be completed to the best of your ability. Compliance Inspections cause a lot of grief, but should be viewed as learning opportunities and improvements. There should be nothing to fear if you are doing what is expected and required. Investigations are used to determine the facts of a situation and typically answer the questions who, what, when, where, why and how. Audits should be viewed as a checks and balance between a process or procedure and the employees doing that activity. All three items can be stressful, intimidating and somewhat time consuming but when the focus is on learning and improvement, the results should be positive.

Below are some suggestions and tips that may help, but know that every inspection, investigation or Audit should be handled per your company policy. It is suggested for each employee to know what is expected and required. Also, the information is to be used as an opportunity to give some insight into what may happen and understand that each situation is different.

Overall Success:

  • Notify your safety representative immediately.
  • Be polite and treat the person as you would want to be treated.
  • Don’t hide or cover up areas of concern.
  • Embrace them and learn while making positive improvements.
  • Establish clear expectations and guidelines / procedures.
  • Document, document, document. If it is not written down, it doesn’t exist.
  • Train your team and ensure they understand the item or task.


  • Verify credentials and know who they are.
  • Determine why the inspector is at your location and their expectations.
    • Know all the reasons why an inspection can occur.
  • Determine what is expected and what locations are of interest.
  • Stay with the inspector at all times.
  • Document any issues of concern, including detailed photos and measurements.
  • Keep focused on the inspection and stay in areas identified in the opening.
  • When talking with employees, document the details and re-interview them yourself later.
  • Remind employees that they have a right to speak to, refuse to speak to, stop at any time and obtain a copy of the interview statements.
  • Remember what is said can be used against the project and team.

Site Audit:

  • Look for things that can cause injury and then eliminate them.
  • Focus on engineering the problems way first, then control administratively by time or experience followed lastly by PPE.
  • Look for compliance items and where the company could be cited.
  • Document everything.
  • Keep track and note any corrected items.
  • OSHA requires “Frequent and regular worksite inspections.”

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