Stagesafe offers a whole range of other health and safety services, if you do not see what you are looking for, just ask.
Workplace Safety Inspections and Audits
We will identify not only what is working, but what is not and advise on what you need to do to be compliant. Unless all aspects of health and safety are effectively monitored and measured as one weak area could drag the whole lot down. Do yourself a favor and get your Health and Safety checked – benefit from a thorough Workplace Safety audit and Workplace Inspections which aim to identify how well you are complying with Workplace Health and Safety Rules and Regulations and Industry best practice. Safety audits are a fundamental check of your business going beyond safety inspections to include an assessment of your safety policy, risk assessments, training, and all aspects of how safety is managed in your business. It’s a process that ensures you’re compliant with current health & safety regulations.
While its purpose is to ensure compliance, it also assesses how well you’re following processes and your overall performance.
The HSE defines it as: “A collection of independent information on the efficiency, effectiveness, and reliability of the total health & safety management system and drawing up plans for corrective action.”
What is a health and safety audit, and why have one?
A health and safety audit is an expert assessment of an organisations health and safety policies, systems, and procedures.
A health safety audit should address:
- Are current procedures and systems correct and delivering the expected outcomes?
- Is the organisation protecting the wellbeing of the workforce and complying with the relevant regulations?
Let’s break it down into steps, typically, and dependent on the size of operation be audited, they will be:
- Conduct an opening meeting with all relevant members of staff.
- Assess existing documentation such as Policies, Risk Assessments, Method Statements, and other Safe System of Work
- Visit the site and assess the risks to employees.
- Document and record observations made on-site.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses.
- Rank issues in priority order (address major risks first).
- Assess if a proper performance review system is in place.
- Submit the audit report.
- Take steps to prevent harm and remove unsafe hazards/practices.
- Conduct a closing meeting.
If you really want to ensure absolute health & safety within your business, STAGESAFE can provide it.
For safety professionals, the value of a safety audit can take distinct perspectives. Some see it merely as a legal requirement, while others look at it as a valuable indicator to secure operational safety.
At the core of it, safety audits are an organised process to record, evaluate and report data about an organisation’s overall health and safety management system.
As an integral part of a safety management system, safety audits are often cited as the key process to examine and identify weaknesses in work procedures. It is the only program that can help you anticipate and tackle safety issues by:
- Conducting routine inspections to ensure constant compliance
- Identifying safety violations and communicating audit results
- Assessing management involvement and safety adherence by staff
- Periodic maintenance of machinery to identify underlying threats
- Ensuring statutory compliance to HSE and other regulations.
- Recommending improvements in the companies safety policy.
What are the benefits of a health and safety audit?
Regular health and safety audits are widely recognised as best practice for all different types of organisations. Audits are much more than just a box-ticking exercise or defensive measure, they can bring about positive benefits to businesses.
Primarily, audits enable you to protect employees, customers, and visitors from harm. But, ultimately, a professionally conducted audit can also safeguard the existence of the company. That’s because a serious incident could result in prosecutions, severe reputational damage, and financial penalties.
Why have a health and safety audit?
No organisation is legally obliged to undergo a health and safety compliance audit.
Nevertheless, companies of all types and sizes consider regular audits to be essential.
Reasons why you should conduct a health and safety audit:
- Health and safety audits reveal much more than just what is going wrong. They also highlight successes and enable employers to praise the people who are getting it right.
- Setting up a safety audit system doesn't just protect employees and customers from injury and illness. It motivates staff by showing them that their employer is serious about their well-being.
- A correctly conducted safety audit can safeguard a company’s assets. A serious health and safety incident can lead to unfavorable publicity that damages trade.
- When the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brings prosecutions for health and safety breaches, they invariably cite failures that an audit would have highlighted. Prosecutions can lead to enormous fines and legal costs, even imprisonment.
- Every employer is legally obliged to have a health and safety policy in place. This should be in writing if there are five or more employees. Without an audit, it's impossible to be sure that your policy is fit for purpose. So, as well as a health and safety policy, you need a safety audit policy.
What does a typical health and safety policy look like?
A health and safety policy sets out how the business intends to manage health and safety, stating clearly who does what, when, and how in three sections.
- Statement of intent, outlining the company's health and safety goals.
- Specific health and safety responsibilities of management and employees, listing names, positions, and roles.
- Existing health and safety issues at the business and what practical measures are in place to ensure that these issues are addressed e.g. doing a risk assessment, training employees, and using safety signs or equipment.
Under The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), a company's health and safety policies must be frequently reviewed and assessed. What’s more, all employees must be fully informed of any changes made.
We can help you identify your health and safety issues and write a clear, concise, and practical health and safety policy.
What does a health and safety audit cover?
A typical audit (occupational health and safety) will include:
- Documentation: checking that you have a suitable health and safety policy, process documents and suitable arrangements for harmful substances in place.
- Interviews with managers, heads of departments, and ‘shop floor’ personnel (who often have invaluable insights based on everyday working experience).
- Checking whether your health and safety policy is being followed.
Should I use an external auditor, or can I audit in-house?
Health and safety audits can be internal or external. They can be conducted by a member of staff or by external independent consultants, such as STAGESAFE
What is an internal audit?
To conduct an internal audit, you require at least one team member who, in the words of the regulations, is a "competent person"
The law describes a competent person as “someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly.” Therefore, the safest way to ensure your internal audit has been properly conducted is to appoint a team member with appropriate qualifications.
Your competent person should have the relevant health and safety training or qualifications, such as a NEBOSH Diploma or equivalent. We offer courses via our e-learning platform, ideal for employees who wish to earn a health and safety certificate online.
The main advantage of having an in-house audit is greater control over the process. For example, it can take place in stages to minimise disruption. Often, it’s also a lower-cost alternative - although an unsuitable internal audit could end up costing your business far more than you save.
Furthermore, an effective internal audit can be a useful management tool. It enhances everyone’s understanding of how the business is performing and highlights any potential problems.
What is an external H&S audit?
An external health and safety audit is the gold standard. AS the name suggests, it is carried out by an auditor who is external and independent of the organisation being audited.
They will conduct on-site audits, provide actionable reports, write and amend your health & safety policies, provide advice and continually help you monitor and review your policies and procedures.
STAGESAFE audits are conducted according to the requirements of UK law. This includes the principles detailed in the HSE's authoritative health and safety audit template (HSE Best Practice Document HSG65).
A further benefit of turning the task over to independent experts, like us, is the opportunity to benchmark your organisation against its peers and competitors. We do this by using recognised standards, such as BS OHSAS 18001 and ISO 39001.
This is not a job anyone enjoys doing but it is essential to establish exactly what happened and why. This is not to apportion blame in any way, there are authorities who do that, we need to find out what happened and why in order to prevent further accidents, the same mistake being made again. Unfortunately, we are not as good as we think we are at learning from our previous mistakes, and lesions are quickly forgotten. Accident and near-miss investigation reports are often required by your insurance company.
Document Preparation and Document Audits
We can produce a range of health and safety documents from a simple checklist to a complete health and safety Policy or Event Safety Management Plan. Of course, the production of risk assessments and method statements (RAMS) is bread and butter work for us. Every client has different requirements, just call us to discuss your needs.
Call Chris now for a chat on 07831 437062.