How to Conduct a Safety Audit

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A safety audit is a required check of a premises to assure that it is safe for human occupancy. If you think about the anatomy of a building, especially a large commercial location, there are countless vulnerabilities that have the potential to injure people, such as slippery floors, broken windows (which could make the location vulnerable to intruders) and smoke detectors that don't have fresh batteries. Businesses regularly conduct safety audits to avoid insurance claims from customers, employees and clients who could be hurt due to the business's negligence.

Analyze walking areas including the entrances, sidewalks, handicapped entrances, hallways and rooms. Slip-and-falls in unsafe walking areas are a common safety-legal issue for businesses.

Examine possible electrical hazards. There should be no wires hanging from outlets, outlets that are overwhelmed with too many appliances or bad fuses.

Check the fixtures throughout the property—including windows, sinks, toilets, lights, banisters and any other items that are permanently installed within the building—to ensure that they are up to local building standards when doing your safety audit.

Examine the safety of stairways in the building. The stairs should be evenly constructed, and each step should have some type of carpet or rubber buffer for people to step on to avoid falls.

Identify the exits and ensure that there are enough of them to be in accordance with local rules. In the case of an emergency, the business can be sued if people are trapped inside because of lack of emergency exits. Check that there is nothing obstructing the exits to the building.

Count the number of fire extinguishers available, and note their locations. Be sure that, based on the size of the property, there are enough extinguishers to contain a fire.

Examine the smoke and carbon dioxide alarms in the building to ensure that they are equipped with fresh, strong batteries. Test the alarms to be certain that are functional by introducing a small amount of smoke or carbon dioxide near the alarm.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may also want to do a mold check of the property to ensure that occupants are not inhaling mold spores, which can cause illness. You should conduct a full safety audit of a business or property at least every three years.

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