Safety Tips

Five reasons to conduct health and safety audits

You've heard it being said many times, namely that you need to carry out health and safety audits in the workplace.

But why exactly? Well, for starters, you are legally required to do so under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA.

But there's more!

Keep reading to find out five key reasons why you need health and safety audits

The five reasons why you need to conduct health and safety audits are

1. They help you gather all the facts around your current health and safety system, which can show the level of your compliance, to health and safety legislation, in the workplace.

2. It'll give your management a clear view of your health and safety system's functioning in writing.

3. It promotes communication between the highest and lowest levels in the organisation, which allows for everyone to make suggestions for improvement. It also means that everyone can play a part in helping to identify any problem areas in the health and safety system.

4. They can help determine how effective employees are at doing their jobs by seeing what training and skills they require to perform them in a safe way.

In other words, you can gather information which could lead to better health and safety training in the workplace.

Keep reading to find out what the final reason is

5. They will help to determine the exact state of all equipment in your workplace.

In other words, the audit will help you determine if you need to perform maintenance on, or replace, any equipment in the workplace which is deemed a potential hazard.

As you can see, health and safety audits are filled with multiple benefits, and so that's why when you carry them out, you shouldn't just do them for the sake of the OHSA, but instead you should make a real effort to carry out a thorough audit so that you can actually reap all of these benefits.

In order to carry out an effective health and safety audit, start off by:

STEP#1: Holding an opening meeting

Hold an opening meeting and include at least one management representative and health and safety representative from the relevant section.

Explain the purpose of the opening meeting. This can be done by explaining the method and scope of the audit and by emphasising that the audit is focussed on improvement in health and safety.

Explaining the purpose of the health and safety audit will comprise your opening meeting agenda. Other points on the agenda can be:

  • To go through the methods and process to be used; and
  • To go through the audit schedule and to go through auditor assignments.

STEP#2: Begin with the audit

Start the audit.

Collect objective evidence on:

  • The availability of documents in the workplace;
  • Risk profiles based on risk assessments; and
  • Incident verification as well as the skills and job knowledge of your employees.

You can also verify any old health and safety audit findings.

Another thing to do when conducting your health and safety audit is to ask your employees questions. This is to ensure that they are adequately adhering to your health and safety policies, procedures and processes, as well as to gather any information on whether the health and safety systems are in fact working.

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