How to conduct a Health and Safety Audit

Purpose of a Health and Safety Audit

A health and safety audit, also referred to as an OHS Audit, serves the purpose of assisting in the consistent and continuous improvement of an organisation’s OHS procedures and OHS programme. When an OHS Audit is conducted, it must:

  • Identify risks along with the level of risks within the workplace.
  • Identify any strengths as well as weaknesses in the OHS procedures and OHS programme.
  • Compare current documentation as well as practices against best practice, legal requirements, and SafetyWallet protocols.
  • Highlight and recommend any improvements to be made in OHS procedures and the OHS programme.
  • Ensure that adequate resources are available for effective OHS management, and
  • Ensure that resources which are devoted to health and safety are effectively implemented and used.

What does a Health and Safety Audit involve?

 

The SafetyWallet OHS Audit on the OHS management systems and programme identifies whether the systems are operating in an efficient and effective way, or whether they need to be improved.

An audit can either form part of a continuous system, such as the case with internal audits which are conducted by an appointed internal audit team, or they can form an independent part of an ongoing program, such as with external audits conducted yearly by the SafetyWallet audit team along with management.

In addition to the stated goals, audits can, additionally:

  • Focus on a specified activity such as how hazardous substances are controlled.
  • Focus on a specified part of the organisation such as the packing area, or
  • Can address the overall performance of the OHS system and programme.

When an OHS audit is conducted, areas such as the following can be addressed:

  • Planning
  • OHS Duties and Responsibilities
  • Organisational Structure
  • Arrangement with consultations
  • Implementation of procedures as well as activities
  • The identification of hazards as well as the assessment and control thereof
  • Training as well as competence
  • Measurement along with reporting and evaluation, and
  • The review of the OHS system and programme along with overall performance thereof.

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Steps in conducting a Health and Safety Audit

As soon as the area to audit has been selected, the following steps can be followed.

1.   Sequence questions and answer it

The audit questions must be based around law as well as standards. The first thing that must be audited is documented safety procedures to ensure that they are compliant. Next, the level of compliance with such safety procedures can be audited.

This is done through a workplace inspection to ensure that the safety procedures are applied. Their effectiveness can also be observed during this stage.

2.   Compile an audit report

The audit report must reflect all findings noted in the first step, regardless of whether they are positive of whether improvements are needed. Audit findings highlight strengths, weaknesses, and areas where improvements are necessary.

The audit report can also be used to identify risks noted during the audit and their level can subsequently be assessed.

3.   Develop and action plan to address findings

The risks control, which must be applied to the risks identified, must be prioritised according to the hierarchy of control. This will allow for an action plan to be developed.

The action plan that stems from this must be communicated to all employees and the relevant training, where needed, must be conducted.

There may be actions which may have to form part of the organisation’s objectives and targets. These actions are usually those that require careful planning and inclusion in the organisation’s budget.

How to conduct a Health and safety Audit

SafetyWallet’s Health and Safety Audit explained

When considering the diverse and chaotic world that businesses operate in today, and the associated demands, organizations often struggle to juggle productivity and ensuring compliance with OHS requirements.

SafetyWallet, in partnership with MAKROSAFE and OHS Online, offers organisations with the perfect solution, despite the industry type or the size of the organisation. SafetyWallet has become a focal point in South Africa by offering support and assistance to employers in Health and Safety Compliance.

Those who subscribe to SafetyWallet find that they are supported in every step of the way in helping industry and commerce create a safer as well as healthier working environment.

When subscribing to SafetyWallet, members are subjected to an OHS Audit which will review the member’s current OHS programme and provide the level of compliance that the member has.

The SafetyWallet OHS Audit involves an in-depth examination into the entire health and safety management system of the member. The SafetyWallet audit focuses predominantly on key aspects involved with managing Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace.

It also offers a structured path for the continuous and consistent improvement towards Health and Safety Compliance as well as best practice status.

The SafetyWallet OHS Audit process is as follows:

  • The SafetyWallet auditor will review all aspects of the OHS programme of the member. This will be done against the Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as other relevant regulations and SafetyWallet audit protocol.
  • The effectiveness of the implementation of these measures will also be assessed when the SafetyWallet auditor inspects the member’s premises and samples operational activities.
  • The SafetyWallet auditor will also interview relevant key personnel and confidentially discuss OHS aspects relevant to their roles and responsibilities.
  • As soon as the audit is concluded, the SafetyWallet auditor will present the audit report to the SafetyWallet member management team, highlighting the strengths and areas for improvement within the OHS programme of the member.
  • Lastly, there will also be observations and recommendations made by the SafetyWallet auditor as well as action planning for consideration.

Upon the successful completion of the OHS audit, should the member have been found compliant, an OHS Compliance Certificate will be issued. This certifying document asserts as well as approves a workplace as legally compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety Act requirements.

The certificate serves as proof that the SafetyWallet subscribers has met, and passed, all legal standards which are required by law to provide a health and safe working environment for all. The certificate is valid for a year.

Every year, members are required to have another audit conducted at their premises according to legal stipulations.


Posted date: 11th Feb 2021
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