What is a Health and Safety Audit?
- Are current procedures and systems sufficient and delivering the expected outcomes?
- Is the organisation protecting the wellbeing of the workforce and complying with the relevant regulations?
Benefits of Health and Safety Audits
Workplace health and safety audits are an effective tool for scrutinising the compliance standards of your business at any time. Frequent health and safety audits with prioritised actions are widely recognised as good practice for businesses across all sectors.
Primarily, audits assist you in your goal to protect employees, customers and visitors from harm. Moreover, ensuring you are complying with health and safety regulations serves to protect the sustainability of your business and its assets.
Whilst organisations are not specifically obligated to undergo health and safety compliance audit, companies of all types and sizes consider regular audits to be essential.
It’s a dependable way of ensuring that your operational standards are maintained at a level that is acceptable.
Here are a few more benefits of having a health and safety audit schedule:
- Health and safety audits reveal much more than just what is going wrong. They also highlight successes and enable employers to praise the people who are getting it right.
- Setting up a safety audit system doesn’t just protect employees and customers from injury and illness. It motivates staff by showing them that their employer is serious about their well-being.
- A correctly conducted safety audit can safeguard a company’s assets. A serious health and safety incident can lead to unfavourable publicity that damages trade.
4. When the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brings prosecutions for health and safety breaches, they invariably cite failures that an audit would have highlighted. Prosecutions can lead to enormous fines and legal costs, even imprisonment.
5. Every employer is legally obliged to have a health and safety policy in place. This should be in writing if there are five or more employees. Without an audit, it’s impossible to be sure that your policy is fit for purpose i.e. you need a safety audit schedule.
Internal Health and Safety Audits
The law describes a competent person as “someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly.”
Therefore, the safest way to ensure your internal audit has been properly conducted is to appoint a team member with appropriate credentials.
The main advantage of having an internal audit schedule is greater control over the process. For example, it can take place in stages to minimise disruption. Often, it’s also a lower-cost alternative – although an unsuitable internal audit could end up costing your business far more than you save.
Furthermore, an effective internal health and safety audit can be a useful management tool. It enhances everyone’s understanding of how the business is performing and highlights any potential problems.
How to do a Health and Safety Audit
To conduct a valuable health and safety audit, it is critical that the auditor has sufficient knowledge, training and experience in both the type of work being carred out, and of the relevant health and safety standards and regulations.
For many of our client’s at Safeti, we develop specific audit templates to meet the unique requirements of each business. This way, we can focus on the areas that matter most, and ensure that the audit process is valuable to the client.
A typical audit for occupational health and safety will include the review of:
- Policies: Checking that you have a suitable health and safety policy and key arrangements to manage significant risk
- Training: Reviewing the level of information, instruction provided to employees & evaluating competence standards for high risk processes
- Safe Working Procedures: Surveying risk management and observing the methods used to control risk across your operations, identifying areas of strength/weakness
- Personnel: Engaging with with operational personnel to assess how effectively risk is managed in the business
- Management: Looking objectively at the health and safety culture within your business, and how it influences expectations and behaviours on site
What is an external Health and Safety Audit?
External audits are systematic reviews carried out by an unaffiliated representative or organisation. Whereas internal health and safety audits are beneficial, external audits can provide that objective interpretation of your operations.
Whereas you may not have access to specialist health and safety expertise in-house, an external audit can give you access to such a resource for the purposes of the audit. Moreover, due to the bias that can creep in with internal auditing, many operational standards explicitly require it.
As a result, an external or 3rd party health and safety audit continues to be one of the most effective ways to assess your current compliance and performance.
Health and Safety Audit Services
Safeti”s team of Chartered Health and Safety professionals can tailor audits (in-person or remote) to organisations of any type or size.
On completion, you will have a valuable prioritised action plan with recommendations for improvement.
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