Health and Safety Audits and the Proactive Approach

The word ‘audit’ seems to carry negative connotations but in this blog we explore some of the misconceptions about health and safety audits and how a proactive approach to them can really benefit your workplace.

Safety Month and the Spring Clean

This month is Safe Work Month Australia. It’s also mid-Spring and we recently blogged about the importance of using the Spring Clean season to perform regular safety monitoring and review checks across your organisation. What an excellent initiative of Safe Work Australia to highlight safety issues in workplaces everywhere for the benefit of Australians from all walks of life. What a great time of year also to get your workplace in order!

Some of our regular clients are doing just that, and engaging MiSAFE to perform their regularly scheduled health and safety audits. This is definitely one of our busier times of year for audits, and one of the easiest things you can do for the ongoing safety of your organisation. Let’s look at why this is so, and how it can benefit.

Health and Safety Audits don’t have to create anxiety

It may seem daunting and stressful to invite an external body into your workplace, but the benefits of getting a health and safety audit done far outweigh the negatives. You may feel you have to have everything up to scratch before the auditor comes along – not so! An OHS Management Systems Audit, for example, does expose safety gaps in your workplace. Other kinds of audits will expose potential hazards or areas for improvement regarding Quality, Injury Management or Compliance. Rather than a cross to your name, these exposures will be a blessing to your workers because the audit process is followed by an opportunity to rectify issues before a serious incident occurs, or the chance of an industry penalty or prosecution. Ask any boss, and a sensible one will say they’d rather have known about a safety issue via an audit than by the tragic occurrence of an accident, or even the unfortunate exposure or authority report by a disgruntled employee.

You may feel that getting a health and safety audit will disrupt your workforce by making them feel exposed, or vulnerable. Naturally, having someone else on site with a different agenda to the normal workflow may create some diversion in an average workplace, but a good auditor will be personable and knows their job is not to laud authority. Rather, he or she will simply perform a suite of duties assessing the natural activities of a given work site. They should be discreet and ‘invisible’ (although the standard ‘high-vis’ attire on some job sites does make this more challenging!), and in many cases an auditor engages primarily with an administrator, not needing to interrupt other employees from their duties. It is useful to remind anxious employees that an audit examines a workplace as a whole and its health and safety systems, not the people who work in or on it.

An audit can expose opportunities for improvement and even boost workplace culture, if presented well from the top.

Be proactive with an audit and regain control of safety

So, having dealt with those hurdles, let’s get to the crux of this blog: “Act on your Audit!”. The title is just slightly ambiguous. Yes, when you get a report following a scheduled Health and Safety Audit, act without delay on the recommendations before something serious occurs. That’s common sense and makes the whole endeavour worth your while.

But to those organisations out there still considering when or even whether to implement a health and safety audit: Act on your Audit! Adopt a proactive response: view it and conduct the entire process with a positive, proud attitude that you are taking preventative action against potential accidents and incidents in your workplace way back at the systems stage. This is beneficial to whole families that are connected with your organisation. Since we know attitudes trickle down from the top, the positive boost to your workplace health and safety culture that such an attitude will create cannot be overstated. A health and safety audit may not be mandatory in your field, but it is viewed by peak safety bodies in Australia to be a critical component of a healthy safety management system. Particular industries carry greater risk and proactive implementation of an audit in these fields should be undertaken without a moment’s hesitation. And thus it starts here, because it only takes a moment… (click here to learn more about Safe Work Month Australia and the “It only takes a moment” initiative).

MiSAFE Solutions prides itself on a flexible, tailored approach to audits and a quick turnaround on the subsequent report. We provide:

  • OHS Management Systems Audit
  • Quality Management Systems Audit
  • Injury Management Audit
  • Risk Compliance Audit
  • Public Safety Audit
  • Risk Compliance Software Review
  • Property & Facilities Risk Compliance Audit
  • Site Hazard Assessment

And there’s more. But what are your needs? We’re sure we can help. We travel Australia-wide and have even been seconded for audits across our shores. Act on your audit today by contacting us for an obligation-free quote.