What is a safety audit?
A number of different definitions exist about ‘health and safety auditing’. The HSE Guidelines for Best Practice define 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.”
After speaking to a number of customers about auditing, a large number of them prefer to use an audit that provides a numerical measure to quantify data. The reason for this is so it can be easily identified and compared from year to year. The HSE also approve the use of this type of auditing, however they will not endorse any particular audit system. Our Quality Safety Auditing course and consultancy service is based on this type of auditing system and provides reliable auditing methodology which ensures consistency in scoring from year to year.
Why do an audit?
You must regularly examine the quality and effectiveness of your health and safety management systems. It is notable that when the HSE conduct their investigations into major accidents, it usually highlights health and safety management failures as being the root of the cause.
A small number of health and safety professionals feel that a health and safety audit should be conducted with an open mind and a blank sheet of paper, rather than assessments forms/auditing checklists. We disagree with this type of audit as it brings into questions the audit’s validity, reliability and objectivity.
How to conduct a safety audit?
There are two potential routes to auditing your organization. The first method is to train an employee to become your internal safety auditor or alternatively an external auditor could be appointed to conduct this safety audit. Here are our pros and cons of both routes:
Can be expensive and time-consuming, however many training and consultancy providers are flexible with their approach to conducting their safety auditing
Whichever route to auditing you decide to implement, the main duty of any health and safety auditor is to look at your organization’s safety management systems and assess them in line with the chosen criteria. You can then determine compliance with: