You want to continually improve your company’s OHS procedures don’t you?
You need to identify any systems of safety that may be inefficient don’t you?
You are required under Health and Safety legislation to identify hazards in your workplace aren’t you?
So why then do we all feel a quickening of our pulse when the word “Audit” is mentioned? Perhaps it is the legacy of our past when an audit involved having a couple of heavy bespectacled visitors arrive in their cardigans to examine all our finances with a fine tooth comb and lay bare our shortcomings and inefficiencies. But now we understand that the term Audit is not to be feared but to be embraced because with it we can measure our success.
The goal of a health and safety audit is to assist us in the continuous improvement of our systems of safety and to make sure we are doing all we can to provide safe work practices for our staff, volunteers or contractors. A Health and Safety Audit will identify:
- If your organisation is complaint
- The strengths or weaknesses in your safety procedures
- If you have adequate resources to manage OHS
- If your safety procedures are being followed; and
- If you are managing your risks and hazards effectively
It can be applied to a particular part of the organisation or a particular activity, or it can used to assess the overall performance of your safety management system.
You should start by auditing your documentation for safety procedures and ascertain if these procedures are compliant with current legislation. Then you would measure this level of compliance by auditing how these procedures are carried out by the individual workers. You would then report on the findings of these audits.
A formal report and action plan is subsequently prepared and monitored. The action plan documents actions necessary to achieve your objective of minimising or eliminating risks and hazards. It will be important to prioritise the controls that you apply to the risks identified by using your hierarchy of controls. Once an action plan is developed it should be communicated to all employees and management. Audits can serve to increase employee awareness and understanding of safety regulations, and the audit process can also be an opportunity to demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to compliance.
Safety audits will serve as your report cards on the success of your safety management system.
Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.
(originally published by Safety Concepts)