Thinking of a Health & Safety Audit?
In a busy work environment, Health & Safety regulations can easily be overlooked – particularly in smaller enterprises where owners juggle multiple priorities.
So, having Ellis Whittam make sure you’re compliant is vital – especially as you otherwise risk more than a costly breach fine – the resulting negative publicity can damage your reputation beyond repair!
Duty of Care and Auditing
Employers have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and others who might be affected by their activities. In doing so, all Health & Safety matters and arrangements must be monitored, maintained and reviewed.
Indeed, Health & Safety issues can change over time. But auditing ensures the continued health, safety and welfare of people by checking whether the arrangements in place are fit for purpose.
What’s a Health & Safety Audit?
It’s defined by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as:
‘The collection of independent information on the efficiency, effectiveness and reliability of the total Health & Safety management system and drawing up plans for corrective action’.
Put simply, a safety audit is a process that checks your compliance with Health & Safety regulations as well as the effectiveness of your safety arrangements. Safety audits, then, are kind of like financial audits – they evaluate compliance and performance.
Safety audits generally look to:
- assess whether current safety processes and procedures comply with the law
- identify risks in the workplace (as well as the levels of those risks)
- identify arrangement strengths and weaknesses (sooner problems are identified and addressed, the better)
- reveal where and how to make improvements
- ensure Health & Safety resources are adequate and used effectively
- remove unsafe practices and hazards
- assess if a proper performance review system is in place
Strictly speaking, safety audits are not a legal necessity. However, they are strongly recommended by the HSE and certainly help to:
- identify and prioritise needed corrective action
- more suitably focus resources
- design safety plans
- achieve competitive advantage through continuous improvement
- ensure legal obligations are met
Audits also help demonstrate you’re proactively managing Health & Safety and can act as a defence in court proceedings.
Who should do the Health & Safety Audit?
There are two ways to audit your organisation – you can use an external auditor or you can audit yourself internally.
However, the auditor needs to be independent of the activity or part of the organisation being audited. Also, if the audit is not carried out by a professional auditor, there will be a higher chance that errors and problems won’t be detected.
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 say employers must have Health & Safety assistance from a ‘Competent Person’. In other words, whoever does the audit must be able to make sure you’re complying with Health & Safety law.
The regulations go on to say the ‘Competent Person’ must have ‘sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities’.
Get Specialist Help
Safety audits are essential in making sure you’re complying with the law. Workplace injuries are also, more often than not, the result of minor issues that could have been detected by an audit.
But if you don’t feel you have sufficient competence in the audit process, then let Ellis Whittam Health & Safety team audit for you.
Our safety audits are tailored to meet a client’s precise needs – they can be desktop only or can include site visits to check premises, practices and policies.
Following the assessment, we produce a report detailing our observations and recommendations, including guidance on how to make any required improvements.
Our Health & Safety specialists can also:
- Act as your ‘Competent Person’
- Carry out risk assessments
- Create your Health & Safety policy
Why Ellis Whittam?
Health & Safety law is huge, complex and constantly changes.
While there’s no shortage of Health & Safety consultants to help you develop your Health & Safety systems – ask yourself, what do they know about the law?
Registered occupational safety and health consultants must have a degree level qualification. But rival consultants are typically geography or environmental studies graduates with little or no legal background. In plain English, such qualifications might be labelled ‘Mickey Mouse’ or little more rigorous than advanced colouring-in!
Talk to the Professionals
In stark contrast, Ellis Whittam’s consultants have outstanding relevant qualifications and vast experience. Crucially, many advisers are professionally qualified lawyers with specific industry knowledge.
With a much more suitable skillset, Ellis Whittam’s consultants are best placed to keep your organisation on the right side of the law!
Contact us for more information.