Why and what is the point in carrying out a health and safety audit? What am I going to get from that? What does it involve?
A health and safety audit is a vital cog in managing the health and safety in any organisation no matter how small. It tells you that all the procedures and processes you put in place to protect your workforce. Also, it tells you that all the people in your company are on-message and doing their bit to ensure compliance.
It really takes a layered approach to weave together the right framework to get to this level of compliance. Consider having one internal Compliance health and safety audit per month, one Programmed Audit every quarter and one external Management Audit annually. All these together ensure that the scaffolding is in place and that everything is being done as it should be.
The Monthly Compliance Audit.
Carried out by the health and safety officer who has a pre-determined audit check sheet. It takes the form of a visual inspection of processes, equipment as well as some elements of behavioural observations.
Each month this targeted health and safety audit also includes a more intrusive and in-depth examination of a particular department or area of business so that each receives at least one programmed inspection per year.
The audit seeks to identify areas of non-compliance which are recorded. The report is then delivered to the appropriate manager or health and safety committee. This results in a time-framed action plan after consideration. Any non-conformity which may lead to imminent risk of injury will be rectified immediately during the audit with the appropriate supervisor. An example of this would be a machine guard damaged or removed.
The Quarterly Program Audit.
A program audit gauges the strategy and implementation of a safety program, to ensure that the company has designed and follows its own procedures and policies.
It should check the effectiveness of ground level hazard spotting programmes. To which, staff are obliged to bring the hazard immediately to the notice of a supervisor. It should then be dealt with there and then. The action taken and the resolution of the hazard is recorded and reported upwards. It may make recommendations to the Management Team in more complex matters.
The audit, carried out by a health and safety representative, seeks to check that the hazards were correctly reported, recorded and resolved. It should then be communicated back to the staff member who reported the hazard.
The Annual External Health and safety Audit
The company brings in an independent auditor either as part of ISO accreditation or as part of the company procedures.
The purpose of this audit is ostensibly to check that the company has established, implemented and maintained an occupational health and safety management system. Which improves occupational health and safety, eliminated or minimized risks, and addressed management system nonconformities associated with its activities. It also involves elements of a Compliance Audit. As well as the principals of Plan, Do, Check, Act as set out in the Health and safety Executive guidance document HSG 65.
The health and safety audit is pre-planned and involves benchmarking the company against the published standards. The auditor looks at the management system, its implementation, how the company has identified failings and that they were rectified in a timely manner.
The audit identified non-conformities which are labelled as minor or major. It requires the company to form a time-framed action plan to rectify the issues.
Here at O J Health and Safety Solutions Limited we provide a cost effective and in-depth health and safety audit at all levels and can advise on the best approach to take. We will carry out the audit on site and provide you with a comprehensive report and action plan. Which will let you know how effective your health and safety management is and where your weak-points are. Please call for a quote.