Audit is a systematic and, wherever possible, independent examination to determine whether activities and related results conform to planned arrangements and whether these arrangements are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve the organization’s policy and objectives.
(BS8800: 1996 Guide to Occupational health and safety management systems)
The health and safety management audit our members adopted is a structured process of collecting independent information on the efficiency, effectiveness and reliability of the total H&S management system and drawing up plans for corrective action.
Auditing examines each stages in the H&S management system by measuring compliance with the controls the organization has developed, with the ultimate aim of assessing their effectiveness and their validity for the future.
(Successful H&S Management, HS(G)65)
Are there many types of safety audit?
Well, roughly speaking, we could sum up at least six types of audit which are related to health and safety:
|–||Health and safety audits|
|–||“Walk around audit”|
|–||Health and safety management audit|
|–||Project Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) auditing|
|–||Process safety audit|
|–||Product safety audit|
Health and safety audits
Objectives of this type of safety auditing are to inform the company:
|–||How well it is performing in H&S|
|–||Whether managers and others are meeting the standards which the company has set itself|
|–||Whether the company is complying with the H&S laws which affect its business With the view that the company making any improvements identified as necessary from this information.|
Audit of a Health and Safety Plan
Audit of a Health and Safety Plan is the review of this plan at the end of the year.
The audit consists of two parts. The first is intended to provide a simple overview of progress in terms of time. The second is intended to expand on the information provided in the first part by giving reasons as to why any missed deadlines were not met, detailing any benefits gained by the activities undertaken in the time period covered by the plan, and including any other relevant information that will assist in drawing up the plan for the next 12 months.
The audit looks into the progress of the existing plan as well as the contents and format of the plan.
” walk around audit”
A “walk around audit” is to determine whether the health and safety policies of the company are being properly implemented and to identify areas in which policy effectiveness needs to be improved.
H&S management audits
One of the main problems with H&S audits of the above type is that they tend to examine H&S problems from the symptoms rather than causes of the problems. They rarely focus entirely on the management of H&S.
H&S Management audits look into the following areas:
- Does the company have adequate procedures for identifying specific H&S requirements which apply to its undertakings?
- Are the procedures followed and are responsibilities set out clearly and understood?
- Does the company’s H&S policy documentation include adequate procedures for identifying hazards which exists at the workplace, and for assessing regularly the risks to employees and others affected by the workplace and workplace activities in order to identify the measures needed to avoid their exposure to risks of harm?
- Are adequate risk assessment procedures also set out for hazards of products and /or services supplied by the company in order to identify the measures needed to avoid risks of harm to people such as distributors, customers, end-users and members of the public?
- Are the procedures in 3. and 4. followed, and are responsibilities set out clearly and understood?
- Does the company have adequate procedures for setting, reviewing and revising as necessary its health and safety standards for meeting specific H&S requirements and for meeting its general duties to protect employees and others form risks identified in the company’s risk assessments?
- Do the procedures for setting company standards include the identification of measurable targets which can be audited to monitor the level of compliance with company standards?
- Are the procedures in 5. and 6. followed and are responsibilities set out clearly and understood?
- Does the company have adequate procedures for planning, implementing, controlling, monitoring and reviewing the measures identified in 3. and 4. ?
- Does the company have adequate procedures for carrying out H&S audits to check that the procedures in 9. are followed and that the measures in 3. and 4. are effective?
Project Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) auditing
Project HSE auditing provides the method for monitoring and controlling HSE activities and procedures throughout the life of the project. It comprises of two activities:
|–||Regular and ad-hoc inspections|
The formal audits provide a more comprehensive and formal assessment of compliance with HSE procedures and plans. They should be carried out at key points during the project life cycle.
PROCESS SAFETY AUDITS
It is a self-evaluation audit which aims at:
- gather all relevant documentation covering process safety management requirements at a specific facility
- Determine the program’s implementation and effectiveness by following up on their application to one or more selected processes.
PRODUCT SAFETY AUDIT
Safety Audit is important in the product design and development stages. It is to ensure that the company had adequately protected the user of a product from hazards that it did not know existed. This type of audit is to
|–||Identify and classify hazards associated with the product i.e. catastrophic, critical, occasional, remote, or improbable|
|–||Develop a hazard risk index and priority setting|
|–||Get employee to present design alternatives and to review for feasibility|