Since we're both from Utah, and long-time fans of the NBA's Utah Jazz, we've appreciated the philosophy of coach Jerry Sloan. He repeatedly stresses to his players a diligent work ethic and desire to win. The way he puts it they'll all be showing up at game time, dressed in their sneakers and uniforms, the other team will be there along with the refs, the lights will be on and the balls will be full of air_so they might as well try as hard as possible to win the game. A simple philosophy_if you're going to do something, do it right, make a difference, win the game. It applies to a lot of things, but especially to safety auditing and that's what this paper is about. If you're going to do safety audits, why not ensure they make a positive impact? Why not try as hard as you can to add value, preclude incidents, enhance safety, and win the game?

This paper will discuss the keys to performing safety audits that, in our experience, will make a dramatic and positive contribution to improved safety. We hope this information will benefit readers who are considering starting an audit program as well as providing a few ideas that will help seasoned safety professionals to conduct even more effective audits. The keys that will be discussed are:

  • Key #1: Understanding Audit Objectives

  • Key #2: Deciding What to Audit

  • Key #3: Steps to Perform a Successful Audit

  • Key #4: The Power of Audit Performance Measures

  • Key #5: Auditor Skills and Traits

  • Key #6: Corrective Action_Where Change and Improvement Happen

  • Key #7: Audit Ownership_Enhancing Collaboration and Positive Audit Outcomes

  • Key #8: Due Care

  • Key #9: Caution_Auditing Traps

  • Key #10: Tips for Making a Difference

By way of background, ATK Thiokol is the world's leading producer of solid propellant rocket motors and advanced launch systems. The center of our universe is in Northern Utah where our two main production facilities are located. These two facilities straddle the Great Salt Lake; one near the southern shores and the other near the northern shores. Collectively our two campuses sit on 28,260 acres and include 1,095 different buildings. Our products help to launch space vehicles such as the Space Shuttle, Titan, Delta, Atlas and strategic missiles such as the Minuteman and Trident vehicles. Our business involves taming energetic materials and harnessing the explosive energy of rocket science. As you can imagine, safety is our number one priority.

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