Health and Safety Audit
Health and Safety Audit
In this article, Health and Safety expert, Adam Williams explains what a health and safety audit is and why it is a good idea to have one.
What is a health and safety audit?
It is an expert assessment of an organisation’s health and safety policies, systems, and procedures.
A health and safety audit should address:
- If current procedures and systems are correct and delivering the expected outcomes.
- If the organisation is protecting the wellbeing of the workforce and complying with the relevant regulations.
Why have a an H & S audit?
- 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 wellbeing.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. So, as well as a health and safety policy, you need a safety audit policy.
What does a health and safety audit cover?
A typical OHS audit (occupational health and safety) will include:
- Documentation: checking that you have a suitable health and safety policy, process documents, and suitable arrangements for harmful substances in place.
- Interviews with managers, heads of departments, and ‘shop floor’ personnel (who often have invaluable insights based on everyday working experience).
- Checking whether your health and safety policy is being followed.
Internal or external health and safety audit?
To conduct an internal audit, you require at least one team member who, in the words of the regulations, is a ‘competent person’.
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 qualifications.
An external health and safety audit is the gold standard.
High Performance Consultancy audits are conducted according to the requirements of UK law. This includes the principles detailed in the HSE’s authoritative health and safety audit template (HSE Best Practice Document HSG65).
Why work with High Performance Consultancy?
Our qualified health and safety consultants can tailor audits to organisations of any type or size. Once the assessment has been completed, we will produce a prioritised action plan with detailed recommendations for required improvements.
To find out more information or if you are interested in the team at HPC conducting your H & S audit, get in contact with our team of experts.
T: 0330 107 1037