Health and Safety Audits

11 October 2017

What are health and safety audits and why should I do them?

Health and safety audits define compliance with health and safety legislation as well as determining if your work activities relate to your planned arrangements (such as how you manage hazardous substances) and whether they are being implemented effectively to achieve your policy objectives. It can help you manage safety more effectively and should be performed at least annually to ensure that your management system is being followed.

Whoa, hold on, planned arrangements? Policy objectives? What are these?

Okay, so under the Health and Safety at Work Act (which we have discussed before) you must write a general policy for the management of health and safety in the workplace and the arrangements to carry out that policy statement, not forgetting to bring it to the attention of your employees. The policy is basically a series of objectives on managing safety and the arrangements are how those objectives will be achieved. Therefore, it is paramount that this information is specific to your organisation.

Okay, so can you look through my policy statement?

Yes of course, but it needs to link to your whole management safety system and implemented throughout the organisation.

The audit sounds like it could present loads of issues!

The purpose is to look at your management system within your audit in a positive light, to seek continuous improvement, highlight company successes and praise staff for excelling in their jobs. So, we don’t want to see these as ‘loads of issues’ in your words, but improving the safety of the workplace.

Your audit should contain at least three main elements; firstly, your documentation (policies, process procedures), secondly, interview your managers, heads of departments and finally provide the evidence to back up the interviews, speak with those on the ‘shop floor’ to find out if the actual processes are being carried out.

Ask yourself – can I see some evidence?

Where you find discrepancies, these need reporting to enable you to improve, implement the new process/idea or inform the management that inadequate practice is going on. Whatever the results of your audit you will have actions, some positive some not so. Here is a small selection;

  • Further training, information, instruction, briefings etc. for employees/managers
  • Change of process to a new better method
  • New hazards presented requiring risk assessing
  • Communication barriers that need to be broken down
  • Issues that need resolving
  • Investigate incidents (whether major, minor or near misses)
  • On the other side, where your system is being used effectively, it presents a great opportunity to praise the employees, implement a bonus or other incentive scheme.

So, remember: Safe working = legislative compliance + following policy and processes

‘You can’t say you’ve learnt archery, until you know WHY you have hit the target.’

Here at Qdos, we can perform your site audits and provide advice on how you can complete these moving forwards. Please feel free to contact us on 01455 852022 for more information. Have you taken a HS Health Check yet?

Meet the Quest Experts

Hema Mistry

Solutions Delivery Team Leader

Over her 20+ years in HR, Hema draws her expert specialist knowledge from a broad range of industries including retail, consumer goods, leisure and customer service.

Arti Patel

HR Business Partner

Arti has a strong background in HR and is a fully qualified CIPD member. She has worked with challenging casework and has a good understanding of how to deal with workplace matters as they arise.

Ruth Frank

Employment Law Consultant

Ruth graduated in 1999 with a Degree in Law with honours and is a highly-experienced HR and employment law advisor. Prior to joining Quest, in 2010, Ruth worked in various roles where she has advised on employment law; worked for a national consultancy business as HR/employment law advisor and worked as a claimant representative for seven years which involved managing cases from the start through to representation at Employment Tribunal. In total she has 18 years employment law experience.

Jatinder Tara

HR Employment Relations Advisor

Jatinder has a LLB Honours Law Degree and is a qualified Solicitor. With over 22 years advisory experience in Employment law and HR matters, which include Employment Tribunal litigation, he has a sound understanding of issues arising in the workplace environment and aims to deliver clear and concise client focussed advice.

Andy Hooke

Health, Safety & Training Business Partner

Andy is NEBOSH trained and a technical member of the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH). With a passion for health and safety and with experience in a range of environments Andy is well placed to answer your questions.

Anoop Sodhi

HR Employment Relations Advisor

Anoop is MCIPD qualified and a confident HR professional with extensive experience in providing pragmatic employee relation advice to clients.

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