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Use these three tips to avoid being caught with your pants down during a health and safety audit

by , 30 June 2015
Failing a health and safety audit could result in hefty fines. But conducting your own internal audit can help you avoid these. By knowing what a health and safety audit entails, you ensure that when the time comes for a third party audit, you will pass with flying colours. Today, we explain the steps you need to take to get it right.

What is a health and safety audit?

This a test to check if your health and safety plan/policies you have in place, don't work just on paper but are actually effective when you implement them. It tells you how well your company is doing in the Health and Safety department and helps you pinpoint your shortcomings. 

Take these steps to ace your health and safety audit 

1. Know the law 
You must be aware of the the Department of Labour's legislation that applies to your company. Currently, the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 binds you too meet some of the following health and safety requirements: 
You need to provide your employees with a working environment that's safe and doesn't jeopardise their health. 
You must also, through planning take prior steps to mitigate hazards and potential hazards in your workplace. 
As an employer, you also need to know with which laws each area of your business needs to comply with. For example, what the laws regarding an employee's exposure to hazardous chemicals are.
2. Have company information on hand 
Make sure your audit team has all the information they need to do the audit properly. Do this by using a checklist that includes: 
A company organogram;
The roles and responsibilities of appropriate employees;
Health and safety personnel;
Staff statistics (permanent, contract, temporary, casual, labour broker);
Working hours and shifts;
A floor plan;
Company profile;
Process flow;
Health and safety risk profile
3. Review your previous reports 
Before you jump into the audit, review reports from previous years to see the areas you specifically need to focus on. You will pick up any trends that may exist and these are areas of your must improve on. Reviewing past reports before conducting a new health and safety audit, will also remind you of what recommendations you made but perhaps haven't put in place. Ultimately, it's no use conducting an audit and not reporting on your findings. It's even a bigger waste of time, if you don't implement the recommendations that come from the process. 
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Using these three tips will make passing a health and safety audit a breeze

 Like your matric finals or any test you have ever taken in your life, there is no better way to succeed than to be prepared.  So plan for your health and safety audit correctly. 

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