No one says, “I’m in the mood for a good compliance audit,” but they are unavoidable—and for a good reason. Compliance audits are meant to ensure that employees and employers are following and enforcing safety protocols. These independent reviews check to see if a company meets requirements or regulations to provide safety and security for employees, employers, and consumers safety and security.
Since this is an independent audit conducted by auditors from the regulating body, they usually will have a list of standards or guidelines that a company must meet or show proof of compliance. Auditors identify gaps in policies and processes and will notify companies of inconsistencies or updates needed, which will help the company improve overall. If noncompliance is found during an audit, it will be reported to the corresponding regulating agency, and the company will need to implement corrective or preventative action. Audits can also reduce risks and help those involved better understand how compliance standards need to be updated.
Inspectors will walk through a job site, factory, or facility with an owner or manager and can also include a safety manager, maintenance supervisor, or attorney if applicable. Inspections can range from one day to months, depending on the scope of the audit. Questions asked by auditors are part of the audit process. Any responses from the company might be included in reports and findings.
Audits will differ depending on the business type and regulations that apply to your company’s operations. Still, there is some overlap between the audit design and the auditors' expectations. Auditors will expect to review documents, processes, proofs of compliance, and other related materials. Depending on the circumstances, companies may be given notice and can schedule their audit, giving them time to prepare. Are you prepared for any random inspections or audits?
To help ensure a successful audit, here’s how companies can prepare:
- Organize all needed documents, updating any if necessary. Gathering all required information does not have to be time-consuming if the company uses software like Training Tracker, which keeps all employee training files and compliance documents organized and accessible.
- Complete an internal review. Put a small team together to review audit expectations and requirements ahead of time. This review could reduce the risk of auditors finding the company non-compliant, as you will have time to correct the issue before the official audit.
- Compile an audit trail. An audit trail includes all the records that prove compliance. These records are dated and time-stamped, and organized sequentially. For example, an audit trail for a company vehicle would include a written estimate from the dealer and the bill of sale from the purchase. The Training Tracker system can help compile audit trails for employee compliance training, organizing topics, attendance records, and proof of certification or completion.
- Train or retrain your team. If you find gaps before the official audit, there is no better time to gather the team to train or retrain them so things are operating in compliance.
- Keep an eye on the competition. If companies in your industry report noncompliance, find out why and compare their systems to yours. If there is an overlap, you can fix it before the auditors report it.
If you receive a notice of violations after the audit, you can request an informal conference to discuss the information; file an official notice of intent to contest, accept the audit results, pay any fines and correct the errors.
Training Tracker can reduce your employees’ time preparing for compliance audits and help find any potential non-compliance training issues ahead of time. Staying organized throughout the year will make for less stressful audits moving forward.
Schedule your free demo if you are ready to learn more about how Training Tracker can simplify your internal and external training audits.