Safety Inspection vs Safety Audit: A Comparison Guide

This article will discuss audit safety and inspection safety to make sure you understand why they are different from each other. Learn more!

Safety inspections and audits are two 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 safety inspections and audits into your standard operating procedure? In that case, this article will discuss both of them to make sure you understand why they differ.


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 ensure they meet the company’s safety standards and goals.
  • Safety inspections emphasize the physical environment, such as machinery, equipment, and workplace conditions, to identify any immediate hazards that could cause harm.
  • On the other hand, safety audits scrutinize the underlying systems, procedures, and policies in place. They assess whether these measures effectively manage and mitigate risks in line with regulatory compliance and industry best practices.


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, these processes don’t cross paths; they go in separate directions. In addition, you can audit your safety inspection program but 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 inspector who will look around the workplace for 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 the equipment and machinery used during operations at the worksite. The objective is to determine if any potential hazards, such as loose wires, damaged equipment, or flammable materials, could lead to an accident. Once the inspection is complete, the safety inspector will provide a report that includes all the hazards 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 assesses whether a company’s safety program meets its goals and objectives. It is usually conducted by an external auditor who will review all the safety documents, policies, and procedures to ensure they are up-to-date and compliant with the latest safety regulations.

A safety audit aims to identify 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.

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 for 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 five 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?
  4. Are safety procedures being effectively communicated and implemented throughout all levels of the organization?
  5. Based on audit findings and recommendations, are there adequate measures to continuously monitor and improve the safety program?


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 regularly, at least once a year, to ensure that the safety program is up to date and compliant with 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 who is 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.
  • Ensure proper communication of the audit findings. After the audit, sharing the findings, recommendations, and any planned corrective actions with all the relevant stakeholders is critical.

Safety Inspection:

  • Conduct a safety inspection at least once a month—preferably once a week. The more 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 the hazards found and recommendations on how to fix them.
  • Create a follow-up plan. Once safety hazards are identified and recommendations are made, it’s crucial to have a plan to address these issues. This plan should be made available to all employees and specify who is responsible for each action, what the action is, and when it will be completed.
  • Regularly review and adapt. The safety inspection process should not be static. Regularly review your procedures and make necessary adaptations based on previous inspection findings, operations changes, or safety regulation updates. This helps ensure your inspection process remains relevant and effective.


Conducting a safety audit or inspection is essential to maintaining a safe workplace. Following these best practices ensures that your safety program and work equipment are up-to-date and compliant with the latest safety regulations.


Conduct Safety Audits and Inspections Using a Low-code Platform

If you’re looking for an efficient way to conduct safety audits and inspections, then a low-code platform is an ideal solution. Low-code platforms allow you to easily create mobile apps that can be used to quickly capture data from safety audits and inspections in real-time.

The data can then be automatically organized into reports and dashboards, making identifying trends or potential hazards easier. With a low-code platform, you can ensure that your safety audit and inspection processes are pushed along with minimal effort.

At the same time, you can also quickly create custom forms and questionnaires for different safety audits and inspections. This allows you to precisely tailor the information that needs to be captured to ensure a complete audit or inspection.



DATAMYTE is a quality management platform with low-code capabilities. The DataMyte Digital Clipboard, in particular, is a low-code workflow automation software that features a checklist and smart form builder. This tool lets you streamline safety audits and inspections with ease.

To create a checklist or form template using DATAMYTE, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the DATAMYTE software and navigate to the ‘Checklist’ module.
  2. Click “Create Checklist.”
  3. Add a title to your checklist or template; select the category where it belongs.
  4. Start adding items to the checklist or template by clicking “Add Item.”
  5. Define the description of each item, what type of answer it requires, and other relevant specifications (e.g., reference documents, acceptance criteria, limits).
  6. Assign a team member responsible for conducting the inspection using the checklist or template.
  7. Add signature fields for approvals (e.g., supervisors, quality assurance personnel).
  8. Save the checklist or template—you can now access it anywhere, and it will be available on any device.


The DataMyte Digital Clipboard has various features that will help you conduct a safety audit or 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.


DATAMYTE also lets you conduct layered process audits, a high-frequency evaluation of critical process steps, focusing on areas with the highest failure risk or non-compliance. Conducting LPA with DATAMYTE lets you effectively identify and correct potential defects before they become major quality issues.

With DATAMYTE, you have an all-in-one solution for creating and implementing safety audits and inspections. Book a demo now to learn how DATAMYTE can help you ensure the safety of your workplace.



Safety inspections and safety audits are two very different processes. While they both play an essential role in ensuring a safe workplace, they also go about it in different ways. However, conducting both of these processes is essential 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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