What Is A Health And Safety Audit?

Audit By Matthew Coombes

Since 1991, ACT have been delivering audits, consultancy and training throughout the UK and across the world from our offices in Stourbridge.

What is a health and safety audit?

An audit looks at performance in a given area, by comparing what is being done to a set standard of criteria. In health and safety, this means taking a look at your company’s management of health and safety and comparing it to:

  • The previous year’s performance
  • A set standard or guidance such as ISO 45001
  • A set standard that you have created, purchased or used before as a benchmark

Previous year’s performance

When comparing to a previous year’s performance, you might typically focus on numerical data such as:

  • Reported incidents
  • Injuries
  • Accidents
  • Amount of money lost due to poor health and safety
  • The cost of any claims against the company
  • Work hours lost due to incidents or investigations
  • Staff health monitoring data
  • Staff turnover

Comparing this data to data from a previous year or from an industry study or benchmark can be a great way to get a rough idea of how your organisation is doing. However, always bear in mind that a low reporting of accidents or incidents doesn’t mean that they’re not happening.

A set standard – ISO 45001

A standard such as the ISO 45001: 2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems provides you with the guidance and criteria that you will need to fulfil if you want your organisation to be certified to an internationally agreed standard of health and safety management. This means that you have reached a level that the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) believes is a good level to be at when it comes to the management of health and safety issues in your workplace.

If you’re looking to implement ISO 45001, we have a great handbook: Managing Safety the Systems Way – Implementing ISO 45001 was co-authored by David Smith, the chairman of the ISO 45001 committee.

Created or purchased audit documents

You can create your own audit criteria and use that you measure performance, and similarly there are many organisations like ACT that offer audit documents that you can purchase. These documents often focus on a specific area of a workplace and are a set of workbook checklists and accompanying guidance that are suitable to most organisations.


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