What is a Health & Safety Audit & Why Business Need Them
A health and safety audit is an audit comprising of an assessment of an organisation’s current health and safety practices and procedures. It is used to assess workplace policies, processes, procedures, and health and safety management systems with a view to highlighting any potential hazards or risks. A health and safety audit is a handy way of preventing accidents and incidents before they happen reducing the risk of potential cost to an persons health or financially to the business.
Is a Health & Safety Audit a Legal Requirement in the UK?
There’s currently no legal requirement for organisations to conduct health and safety audits in the UK, but due to their benefits, many organisations view them as an essential part of compliance with the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
They can also provide evidence of efforts to ensure health and safety compliance should any accidents happen.
Benefits of Conducting Health & Safety Audits
The benefits of conducting a Health & Safety audit include:
- Identifying potential hazards and risks before they become costly accidents or incidents.
- Improving safety and compliance
- Reducing liabilities; and providing cost savings.
- An audit can also help to increase employee awareness and understanding of environmental and safety regulations, as well as demonstrate your company’s commitment to compliance.
What Should a Safety Audit Include?
A safety audit should include an assessment of policies, processes, procedures and systems related to workplace safety. It should also include an assessment of the physical environment and workplace, such as the layout, access to emergency exits, and the availability of safety equipment to staff. Additionally, the health and safety audit should consider employee training, communication and awareness of safety rules, and the general enforcement of safety rules.
How Often Should a Health and Safety Audit be Conducted?
In short, it depends – some organisations should implement a more frequent schedule, such as scheduling targeted safety audits throughout the year (e.g., every department audited on a rotating basis). The frequency of safety audits should be based on the organisation’s risk factors and current safety performance.
How Does a Health and Safety Audit Improve Safety?
Safety inspections and audits have demonstrated that they reduce the number of accidents in a workplace, and therefore are an extremely important cog in your health and safety management. We strongly suggest that employers be proactive with safety, and not wait for an accident to occur. If an organisation does not have the resources to do the inspections and audits internally, they can outsource these services to a company like Wirehouse.
Can I Conduct a Health and Safety Audit Myself?
It is important to ensure that the person conducting an audit is competent to do so. The level of competence will vary depending on the complexity of the situation and the expertise needed. It’s prudent to consult with experienced health and safety consultants prior to conducting an audit to ensure that you have the necessary skills and levels of qualification/competence to complete an effective audit.
See more on How to Conduct a Health & Safety Audit: Looking to outsource your health and safety audit to experts? View our comprehensive Health & Safety Audit service