How to Conduct a Health & Safety Audit in the Workplace

Fiona Burns

Fiona Burns

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02 Sep 2019

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Safety audits and inspections are vital to the wellbeing of your workforce.

The HSE states large public and private sector organisations should have formal procedures in place for auditing and reporting on health & safety performance.

So an audit isn’t only a matter of wellbeing, it’s compliance too.

 

What is a health & safety audit?

It’s a process that ensures you’re compliant with current health & safety regulations.

While its purpose is to ensure compliance, it also assesses how well you’re following processes and your overall performance.

The HSE defines it as: “A collection of independent information on the efficiency, effectiveness and reliability of the total health & safety management system and drawing up plans for corrective action.”

 

Can you produce an internal safety audit report?

Yes, you can. The one thing to remember when conducting any office health & safety audit is that you must have a “competent person” leading it.

Also, you should ensure the auditor is independent of the part of the organisation you’re auditing.

For example, you can’t have a baker conduct a safety audit in the bakery. But you could ask a member of your health & safety team working in the head office to audit the bakery premises.

Alternatively, you can use an external auditor, like Croner.

 

Setting up a safety audit system

Regardless of your choice of auditor, you should have a system in place to ensure health & safety compliance.

It’s often helpful to put together an office safety audit checklist to highlight what your organisation’s priorities are, and how you’re going to manage the risks most prevalent in your industry.

To start, the checklist should be looking to address certain safety audit questions, such as:

  • Is our safety manual up-to-date and available to all employees?
  • Does our management team know their health & safety responsibilities?
  • What’s our system for reporting hazards?
  • How often are we doing safety checks?
  • Do we have a valid fire risk assessment?

These are just a few basic questions. There are many, many more you’ll need to answer in a full health & safety audit, including industry-specific queries.

Once you have your full list of priorities, you can start to look at how to conduct the audit itself.

 

Health & safety audit procedure

Let’s break it down into steps:

  • Conduct an opening meeting with all relevant members of staff.
  • Visit the site and assess the risks to employees.
  • Document and record observations made on-site.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • Rank issues in priority order (address major risks first).
  • Assess if a proper performance review system is in place.
  • Submit the audit report.
  • Take steps to prevent harm and remove unsafe hazards/practices.
  • Conduct a closing meeting.

You might want to include different steps depending on your industry and workplace. Your auditor can advise which steps to add.

 

Health & safety audit template

If you’re struggling to put together a checklist, there are templates out there for you to use.

However, finding a template that perfectly fits your organisation will be a challenge. You can access a number of audit and assessment templates via the HSE, but don’t rely on these to guarantee compliance.

If you really want to ensure absolute health & safety within your business, a Croner consultant can provide it.

 

Expert support

Our consultants conduct on-site audits, provide actionable reports, write and amend your health & safety policies, provide 24/7 advice and continually monitor and review your policies and procedures.

Speak to a Croner expert today on 0808 145 3380.

About the Author

Fiona Burns

Fiona Burns has practical experience in Health & Safety and Risk Management having worked for major insurer prior to joining Croner.

She has gained extensive helpline experience offering competent advice and timely support to large number of clients, in various industries and at all levels.  Completed the NEBOSH General Certificate, also passed NEBOSH Environmental Diploma Unit A, (IOSH Managing Environmental responsibilities). NEBOSH Fire and Risk Management Certificate, FPA Advance Fire Training, NCRQ Diploma – Distinction currently completing IPD and volunteering for Community project in Atherstone also as a Dementia support worker with CWPT.

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