Health & Safety

Health and Safety Audits

You may feel you’re managing health and safety appropriately, but is there something at the back of your mind that you’re not fully confident about? 

A system that isn’t fully compliant? A procedure that isn’t being executed properly? A policy or risk assessment that might be out of date? A missing safe system of work?

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Why conduct a health and safety audit?

If you’re not sure how to conduct a health and safety audit yourself, our network of qualified Health & Safety Consultants can take on this important task for you. With our on-site auditing services, you can rest assured that risk is being appropriately managed at every level across your organisation.

Over time, even the best safety management systems may become less effective at reducing risk, and a periodic examination can help to identify any immediate or emerging issues before they result in harm. 

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, employers have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and others who might be affected by their activities. In doing so, all health and safety matters and arrangements must be monitored, maintained and reviewed. 

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The importance of a health and safety audit

Any changes in personnel or practices might change the risks that people are exposed to. For example, physical changes to the work environment, such as new machinery or equipment, may introduce an entirely new hazard, while a change in a core process, even a temporary one, could have critical health and safety implications that need to be properly evaluated, controlled and communicated to workers. Similarly, attempts to control new hazards, such as coronavirus, might have a knock-on effect on other areas of risk; for example, reduced staffing could mean a reduction in your first aid cover.

Health and safety issues, and indeed health and safety regulations, change over time, and complacency can be costly. For this reason, regular systematic review is essential.

A health and safety audit will ensure that your current arrangements are compliant and that any changes in the law are reflected in how you manage health and safety.

So what exactly is a health and safety audit?

Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), defines a health and safety audit as:

“The collection of independent information on the efficiency, effectiveness and reliability of the total health and safety management system and drawing up plans for corrective action”.

The health and safety audit procedure may sound complex, but put simply, it is a process that examines your compliance with health and safety regulations. It also looks at how effective you are at practising what you preach.

In this way, safety audits are comparable to financial audits – they evaluate compliance and performance.

Simple Health & Safety Audit Software

As part of our core Health & Safety service, our Health & Safety Software will revolutionise your approach to auditing.

Use the power of this intuitive tool to integrate with your organisation and pull your data into one risk status indicator. 

Compliance at the click of a button.

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Health and safety audit checklist

A health and safety audit would generally look to:

  • Assess whether current safety processes and procedures align with the law
  • Identify risks in the workplace (as well as the levels of those risks)
  • Reveal arrangement strengths and weaknesses
  • Pinpoint where and how to make improvements
  • Ensure health and safety resources are adequate and used effectively
  • Eliminate unsafe practices and hazards
  • Check that a proper performance review system is in place

A health and safety checklist will ensure that your organisation complies with health and safety regulations, identify any potential hazards, and maintains a safe working environment. Some common elements on a checklist may include:

  • Workplace environment
  • Emergency procedures
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Machinery and equipment safety
  • Chemical safety
  • First aid and medical facilities
  • Risk assessments

The importance of working with health and safety auditors

There are two ways to audit your organisation – you can use an external auditor or, if you’re comfortable that you know how to do a health and safety audit, you can take this on yourself internally.

In either case, the health and safety auditor needs to be independent of the activity or part of the organisation being audited. For this reason, it often makes sense to outsource this task to an external professional; not only will this ensure that the health and safety audit procedure is carried out correctly, but going it alone means a higher chance that errors and problems won’t be detected.

What’s more, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 say that employers must have health and safety assistance from ‘competent persons’.

In other words, whoever does the audit must have the training, skills, experience and knowledge required to make sure you’re complying with health and safety law.

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Let us do the hard work for you

Periodic audits are an essential component of good health and safety management – not least because workplace injuries are, more often than not, the result of minor issues that could have been detected by an audit.

If you don’t have sufficient time or expertise to do a health and safety audit internally, let WorkNest’s Health & Safety Team conduct a full health and safety checklist examination for you.

Our IOSH qualified Health & Safety Auditors can accommodate your specific needs – they can support you remotely or can visit you on site to assess your premises, practices and policies.

Following the assessment, you will be provided with a detailed report outlining our observations and recommendations, including guidance on how to make any required improvements.

Our Health & Safety specialists can also:

  • Provide ongoing support as one of your legally required ‘competent persons’;
  • Carry out risk assessments; and
  • Create your Health & Safety Policy.

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Why choose us?

Experts in Health & Safety

We have the expertise to help you simplify complex health and safety legislation, find workable solutions to health and safety challenges, and protect your organisation from the rising cost of non-compliance. 

  • Approved by a Primary Authority
  • Dedicated specialists with recognised qualifications
  • Genuine hands-on experience of managing risk
  • Cost certainty with our unlimited, fixed-fee model
  • The confidence to act as one of your competent persons

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