Safety Inspection vs. Safety Audit: What’s the Difference?

Safety Inspection Vs. Safety Audit

Safety inspections and safety audits are two safety procedures that many industry veterans use interchangeably. But despite that, both of these tasks have very different functions but with similar goals: maintaining efficient work operations while keeping workers safe. 

Are you planning to incorporate both safety inspections and safety audits into your standard operating procedure? In that case, this article will discuss both of them to make sure you understand why they are different from each other.


General Rule of Thumb

To start, here’s the biggest difference between these two:

  • Safety inspections look for hazards and risky behaviors that might lead to potential accidents within the workplace.
  • Safety audits focus more on checking programs and processes to make sure that they meet the company’s safety standards and goals. 


An inspection focuses exclusively on people, places, and things. On the other hand, an audit is all about the processes, operations, and programs. As you can see, both these processes don’t cross paths as they go in separate directions. In addition, you can audit your safety inspection program, but you can’t inspect your safety audits. 

To further expand our understanding of the two processes, let’s go deeper and discuss both safety inspection and safety audit separately to see the distinction and how they reinforce a safe work environment.


What is a Safety Inspection?

A safety inspection is a thorough, systematic, and well-documented process that identifies potential hazards in the workplace. The inspection is usually done by a safety officer or safety inspector who will go around the workplace and look for any potential hazards that could lead to an accident. 

A safety inspection aims to identify possible risks so that corrective measures can be put in place to address them before they cause any harm. It’s a proactive approach to safety that can help prevent accidents from happening in the first place. 

A safety inspection examines all of the equipment and machinery used during operations at the worksite. The objective is to determine if any potential hazards could lead to an accident, such as loose wires, damaged equipment, or flammable materials. Once the inspection is complete, the safety inspector will provide a report that includes all of the hazards that were found and recommendations on how to fix them.

A safety inspection should be conducted regularly to ensure that all potential hazards are identified and addressed in a timely manner.


What is a Safety Audit?

On the other hand, a safety audit is a process that assesses whether the safety program of a company meets its goals and objectives. It is usually conducted by an external auditor who will review all of the safety documents, policies, and procedures to make sure that they are up to date and compliant with the latest safety regulations. 

A safety audit aims to identify any gaps in the safety program so that corrective action can be taken to improve it. It’s a reactive approach to safety that helps improve the safety program after an accident has already happened. 

A safety audit looks at all aspects of the company’s safety program, including the training, hazard identification, and incident reporting procedures. The objective is to find out if any areas need improvement. Once the audit is complete, the auditor will provide a report that includes all the findings and recommendations on improving the safety program.

The safety auditor or an entire auditing team initially conducts the process through a fact-finding approach. They avoid making evaluative comments or opinions during the first phase of the process. The auditors are experts in the applicable company regulations and existing programs. 

Fundamental Questions for Safety Audit

There are three fundamental questions that a safety audit should answer:

  1. Does the program comply with all industry best practices and regulatory equipment?
  2. Is there a formally documented proof of compliance?
  3. Does employee training produce corrective behavior?


Depending on the scope, a safety audit can take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks to complete. It’s important to note that a safety audit is not the same as a safety inspection.

A safety audit should be conducted on a regular basis, at least once a year, to ensure that the safety program is up to date and compliant with all of the latest safety regulations.


Safety Inspections and Safety Audit Best Practices

There are a few best practices that should be followed when conducting a safety inspection or safety audit:

Safety Audit:

  • A safety audit should be conducted quarterly — at least four times a year for maximum effectiveness. That way, any gaps in the safety program can be identified and addressed in a timely manner.
  • The last safety audit of the year should be done comprehensively with all employees to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there are no surprises.
  • Improve your safety audits by taking the time and resources to do them right. That means hiring an external auditor knowledgeable and experienced in safety audits.
  • Document everything. The auditor should be able to record all of their findings to make sure no issue is ignored.


Safety Inspection:

  • Conduct a safety inspection at least once a month — preferably once a week. The more often you conduct inspections, the more likely you can identify potential hazards before they lead to an accident.
  • Don’t forget to involve the employees in the safety inspection process. They are the ones who are working in the facility every day, and they might have some valuable insights.
  • Again, make sure to document everything. The inspection report should include all of the hazards that were found and recommendations on how to fix them.


Conducting a safety audit or safety inspection is an important part of maintaining a safe workplace. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your safety program and work equipment are up-to-date and compliant with all of the latest safety regulations.


How DataMyte Digital Clipboard Can Help

The DataMyte Digital Clipboard has an array of different features that will help you conduct a safety audit or safety inspection. With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, you can:

  • Keep track of all of your safety data in one place.
  • Easily create and share reports with your team.
  • Get real-time insights into your safety program.
  • Monitor trends over time to identify potential areas of improvement.


Two notable tools that will really help you out during your safety. Audit inspections are the DataMyte Digital Clipboard checklist and app builder.


Checklist Builder

By creating a checklist, you can ensure that you never skip a beat on your safety inspection and audit. In addition, you can list all the areas that are necessary for each respective procedure to ensure a comprehensive approach when conducting them. 


App Builder

With the app builder, you can create a custom safety inspection and audit app with all the necessary tools. And also features your inspection and auditing team will need to get the job done faster and more efficiently.

The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is the perfect tool for conducting a safety audit or safety inspection. With its easy-to-use interface and powerful features, you can be sure that your safety program is up to date and compliant with all of the latest safety regulations.

Visit our website or contact us today to learn more about the DataMyte Digital Clipboard. We would be happy to answer any of your questions and help you get started.



As you can see, safety inspections and safety audits are two very different processes. While they both play an important role in ensuring a safe workplace, they also go about it in different ways. However, it’s important to conduct both of these processes to ensure that your workplace is as safe as possible. Make sure you use this guide as a useful resource to help you create your safety inspection and audit procedures. 



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