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Ten steps to conduct your legally compliant health and safety risk management audit

by , 12 March 2015
It's no use having a health and safety management system if it doesn't work. The best way to ensure it works is to audit it regularly.

If your health and safety management system doesn't work, your employees will be in danger and you'll face penalties.

A simple way to check your health and safety management system is working is to conduct a health and safety risk management audit.

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Your A-Z guide to doing an internal audit that meets OHSAS 18001 standards in just minutes
By law you know you have to do an internal audit of your health and safety system at least once a year… But where do you start?

Should you call a professional and pay thousands?

Or should you attempt this mammoth task yourself?

Fear not… Today I'll tell you exactly how you can successfully perform an internal audit that meets the OHSAS 18001 standards perfectly.

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Follow these ten steps to conduct your legally-compliant health and safety risk management audit:

Step #1: Plan and prepare
The preparation phase of the audit is critical to its success.

Step #2: Arrange an informal meeting for the audit team
The Health & Safety Advisor says you must identify key role players and spend some social time together before the audit formally kicks off.

Step #3: Review the overall handling of incidents on site
This step of the process evaluates the overall handling of incidents on site. The audit team must review:
•    The details on the incident reporting system on site;
•    Your incident register and the completeness of entries;

Step #4: Evaluate the process for identifying hazards and assessing risks
The aim of this step is to check the level of success in identifying the work-related hazards and risks on site.  Once checked, make sure the actions taken to eliminate and control the hazards and risks were successful.

Step #5: Familiarise yourself with site-specific requirements
Although the core requirements of a risk management system don't change from site to site, it's essential for the audit team to know site-specific details.  The site specific details will depend on the site risk profile and the site management's approach towards health and safety risk management.

Step #6: Do a compliance audit
Do a compliance audit to assess the degree of compliance with requirements of the site-specific health and safety risk management system.  This'll help you see how effective the system is in achieving its objectives.

Step #7: Evaluate and summarise the audit findings
This is one of the most difficult steps in the audit process. It's at this point that you'll do a final evaluation and determine the outcome of the audit.  The outcome of an audit can have a huge impact on the people involved, and this may put extreme pressure on the auditor.

Step #8: Arrange a feedback meeting
The feedback meeting is the final step of the on-site audit activity. In this meeting the audit team communicates all its findings to you.
'If the audit team has done a detailed compliance audit, drawn concrete conclusions and communicated its findings to you throughout the audit process, the feedback meeting will be pleasant and mostly ceremonial,' says the Health & Safety Advisor.

Step #9: Compile a detailed report
The report is the only tangible output of the audit. Give it the special attention and diligence it deserves!  The report must give clear details on the audit scope, findings, conclusions and suggested action plans.  An audit report must be completed within ten to 15 working days. It must include:
•    An executive summary;
•    A trend analysis;
•    A score sheet;
•    Detailed findings on system elements; and
•    Detailed findings per unit audited.

Step #10: Check the audit report
Scrutinise the audit report, evaluate recommendations and initiate implementation of suggested corrective actions.
Well there you have it. Conducting an effective health and safety risk management audit will help ensure your health and safety management system works.

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