As a Business Owner, Do I Need a Health & Safety Audit?
This is a question many business owners ask themselves, and it's a good one. In brief, the answer to the question is... no. Business owners are not obliged by law to have a health and safety audit, but for many reasons are strongly advised to do so.
One of these is corporate responsibility. Health and safety is a primary consideration for anyone who's responsible for other people at work, particularly if they're operating any kind of machinery. A properly conducted audit will ensure that both your employees and your customers are protected from harm. It'll enhance confidence in your business, both in your customers and your employees.
Furthermore, in the unlikely event of any prosecution that might arise as the result of an accident, it gives you a greater safeguard under the law if an audit has been properly carried out. It will protect your business reputation, show that you have followed industry best practice, and help to prevent heavy financial penalties.
What exactly is a health and safety audit?
A health and safety audit represents a thorough and expert assessment of your health and safety procedures, systems and policies. An accredited auditor will check to see if these are in line with HSE guidelines. They'll make sure that the expected outcomes are delivered. They will also check to ensure that your policies, systems and procedures are protecting your workforce, and keeping your business in compliance with the relevant H&S regulations.
What does a health and safety audit usually involve?
First of all, it requires an accredited and competent person to advise and assess your company's current systems. Checks are carried out in accordance with the recognised standard OHSAS 18001 and relevant legislation. Your management system is assessed for compliance and your existing arrangements and policies will be reviewed for their suitability and your adherence to them.
An auditor may also conduct interviews with department heads, line managers and other personnel. They may have invaluable insights to offer based on their normal working experience.
Who can conduct a health and safety audit?
It is possible to carry out a health and safety audit internally, provided you have at least one member of staff who is appropriately trained and qualified. This means they will need a NEBOSH diploma, or at least a starting certificate. Having an in-house auditor can be a good option if you're looking for minimal disruption or lower costs. Do beware of false economies though, if the audit isn't up to scratch. It can also serve as a useful management tool, revealing potential problems and promoting a better overall understanding of your business performance.
If you want to play it safe, opt for an external independent audit by an accredited consultant such as WSS. A health and safety audit conducted by a professional accords with HSE best practice. It serves as a benchmark by which you can measure your business performance.
We conduct frequent health and safety audits at WSS which are tailored to individual business requirements. Why not give us a call today?