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Five steps to conduct a health and safety risk management audit to prevent accidents at work

by , 11 February 2015
Workplace accidents are more expensive than you realise.

If your employee gets injured, he may have to take time off. During this time, you must train and pay his replacement, repair damaged property, investigate the accident and take corrective action. All this could cause delays and add to your administrative time. Basically, you'll lose money.

That's why the best thing to do is to conduct a health and safety risk management audit. It ensures that your health and safety management system works. This way, you can prevent accidents before they happen.

Here's how to conduct the audit...

Don't let accidents happen under your watch. Conduct a health and safety risk management audit using these four steps

Step 1: Plan and prepare
This is the most important phase. If you get this part wrong, your audit won't achieve its objectives of keeping employees safe.
To plan and prepare, do the following things:
  • Have your standard audit procedure ready – this is a set of rules your company uses when conducting audits.
  • Notify all parties in writing – let everyone taking part in the audit know about it. They need to know where, when and what time the audit will take place.
  • Have your company information at hand – this includes your company organogram, staff statistics, a floor plan, etc.
  • Review your previous audits – these will remind you of previously identified problem areas and highlight the areas you need to focus on.
  • Study the health and safety legislation – know which laws each area in your business needs to comply with.
  • Plan your time – give everyone who will take part an audit plan and outline the timing schedule.


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Step 2: Have a meeting with your audit team
Identify key role players from each department in your company and meet with them.
This way, they know what you expect from them during the audit. And what they can expect from the audit itself.
Step 3: Review how your company handles incidents on site
The Health & Safety Advisor says this step evaluates your overall handling of incidents on site. Your audit team must look at things like:
  • The details on the incident reporting system on site;
  • Your incident registers and if your entries are complete;
  • Accident investigations to determine the root causes;
  • The plans you have in place to prevent the same incident re-occurring; and
  • The number of employees on site and the number of hours they work.
Step 4: Evaluate your risk assessments
You must evaluate your risk assessments to see if you did it correctly.
After you evaluate your risk assessment process, compare it against your control measures. This will show you if the systems you have in place are reducing your risk.
For everything you need to know about risk assessments, check out Risk Assessment: The 100% legally compliant risk assessment toolkit.
When it comes to risk management, you need to be proactive and not reactive. This way, you can prevent accidents and minimise risks beforehand. So make sure you conduct a health and safety risk management audit to make sure your systems are working effectively.
And remember, these are just four of the steps you need to follow. Consult the Health & Safety Advisor to find six more steps for conducting your audit.

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