In the realm of workplace safety, an effective health and safety audit plays a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of employees and the overall compliance of an organisation with relevant regulations. Just like a financial audit, a health and safety audit systematically examines the policies, procedures, and practices that contribute to a safe working environment. It assesses whether the existing safety systems are functioning as intended, identifies areas of improvement, and provides documented evidence of compliance. In this blog, we will explore the key steps involved in conducting a health and safety audit and highlight its significance for any organisation.
The first step in an audit for health and safety involves gathering all relevant documentation and records that provide insight into an organisation’s safety practices. This includes policy statements, risk assessments, safety training records, safety procedures, health and safety roles and responsibilities, accident investigation reports, emergency plans, equipment operational documents, and maintenance records. Past audit reports should also be reviewed to ensure any previously recommended corrective actions have been implemented.
To conduct a comprehensive audit, the audit team members should be assigned specific areas to investigate. This may include conducting staff interviews to understand how safety protocols have been implemented and received by employees. The safety policy should be reviewed to ensure it aligns with government regulations and includes guidelines for incident reporting and record-keeping. The management of safety policies and compliance with changing regulations in the industry should also be assessed. Additionally, the audit should include a walkthrough of the facility to verify compliance with safety signs and markings.
Once the audit is complete, all findings should be compiled into a concise report that focuses on key areas, such as compliance with industry best practices, policy requirements, documentation compliance, and staff training. Each area should be addressed and, if necessary, rectified, with the audit report serving as a basis for updating the health and safety policy document.
Identifying policy failures or deficiencies is essential, but the next step is to document specific recommendations for each issue found during the audit. Prioritising corrective actions based on the level of risk and likelihood of accidents or injuries occurring helps create an effective action plan.
To ensure the implementation of corrective actions, involvement from supervisors, line managers, and front-line workers is essential. Each corrective action should have a specified deadline and review date, and progress should be monitored accordingly. Prioritising actions based on risk allows for a focused approach to addressing safety concerns.
Transparency is crucial in the auditing process. Publishing the core findings of the audit makes them available to all managers and supervisors, providing insights into areas of weakness and recommendations for improvements. Acknowledging departments and sections that have successfully completed the audit fosters a safety-conscious culture within the organisation.
A health and safety audit is an indispensable tool for organisations striving to create a safe and compliant working environment. By systematically reviewing policies, procedures, and practices, an audit helps identify areas for improvement, leading to a safer workplace for employees. Whether conducted internationally or externally, health and safety audits are a vital step towards ensuring the well-being of an organisation’s most valuable asset – its employees. Additionally, with the help of technology and innovative solutions, managing health and safety checklists and audits can be made more efficient and streamlined, empowering organisations to stay ahead in maintaining a safe and secure work environment.