Don’t let your food processing plant’s process safety management (PSM) audit take you by surprise. Preparation is paramount, and self-auditing is key. Here are some tips for performing a self audit in your facility.
What is a self-audit?
When you conduct a self-audit, you perform a voluntary, internal mock assessment of your facility’s PSM compliance. Your PSM administrator should oversee this process.
Self-audits are one the best ways to both keep up with your PSM program and position your facility for a successful outcome when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) comes knocking.
Timing and scheduling
While a PSM compliance audit occurs once every three years, you should perform a self-audit every six months. Don’t do it any more frequently than that, however. Any more would be overkill due to how often elements are changing within your plant.
Typically, a PSM audit takes two to three days, but you could complete a self-audit in one day. However, this doesn’t mean you can procrastinate. Sticking to a semi-annual self-assessment schedule ensures you have ample time to correct outstanding items from your last audit.
For example, say you put off your self-audit until less than a month before your three-year audit is due. If you discover you don’t have standard operating procedures for a piece of equipment, you may not have enough time to correct this outstanding violation. On the other hand, if you had kept up with your self-auditing, you would have had sufficient time to correct this violation before the next audit cycle had rolled around.
Resources to reference
Base your self-audit on a sample OSHA or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) PSM checklist, accessible online or through your PSM provider.
Here is just one example.
Be sure to pay special attention to the action item list or recommendation sheet from your last audit. Keep in mind, willful and blatant violations have the highest fines.
If you’d like to learn more about self-auditing, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.