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General Business
Managing People
Employment & HR

Health & Safety Checks Audits

Primed Team
9 June 2024 3 minutes

The halfway point of 2024 is nearly here! It's an ideal time to prepare for health and safety checks. Consider scheduling an audit or reviewing other areas that may have been overlooked.

It is now the perfect time of the year to spotlight the importance of health and safety audits. These audits are more than just a box to tick, they’re essential for creating a safe, productive workplace. They uncover hidden hazards, ensure compliance, and create a culture of safety. We are going to explore why health and safety audits are vital.

People often confuse inspections with audits, so it’s important to clarify the distinction. While jargon can muddy the waters, knowing the difference is crucial. An inspection focuses on spotting health and safety hazards, including changes to physical locations, equipment, machinery, or processes that pose risks. In contrast, a health and safety audit evaluates the effectiveness of procedures or practices. An audit not only identifies shortcomings but also examines record keeping to ensure that appropriate standards are being met.

Investing time into inspections and audits is crucial to eliminate hazards and risks and safeguard your workplace. Consider the ripple effect of accidents, affecting not just workers but their families, colleagues, and even the company’s reputation. Stay vigilant and update procedures and equipment to adhere to regulations. According to The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), every employer has a duty of care for its employees and must provide a safe place of work, a safe system of work and adequate equipment. If an employer fails to observe care in each of these areas, an employee may be able to make a claim or even prosecute the employer. Across 2022-23 the Labour Force Survey found 561,000 cases of injuries sustained at work.

Organisations must take into account the impact on their business, as highlighted by Strategic Risk, 81% of top executives indicated that health and safety concerns significantly influence an organisation’s corporate image. The financial implications of compensation, medical intervention, legal fees, and property repairs or replacements could be substantial. Furthermore, reputation damage presents a formidable obstacle, affecting client retention, workforce morale, and potential collaborations. Coupled with financial constraints, these challenges can quickly propel a company into a painful downward spiral.

It is recommended that health and safety audits are carried out once a year. There should be a procedure in place to ensure that they are thorough and all hazards are assessed. Here’s a suggested process to follow:

  • Gather all previous documentation to review.
  • Conduct staff interviews to discover if procedures and policies are being complied with.
  • Ensure that policies align with the government’s Hazard Identification and Control regulations.
  • Review all policies and procedures.
  • Incorporate protocols for equipment and raw materials into your policies and procedures.
  • Perform a thorough walkthrough of the entire workplace.
  • Document and report audit findings, addressing any identified hazards.
  • Document any noted failures and actions taken to rectify them.
  • Share the audit results with all managers and supervisors.

Why not consider outsourcing your health and safety auditing? Every employer has a legal duty to appoint a competent person for health and safety. Depending on the size of your organisation, outsourcing to a specialised company may be more cost-effective than hiring or training a staff member for this role.

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