Periodic checking

Published:  15 November, 2007

Periodically checking the foundations for managing health and safety are up to scratch in your company is a valuable exercise. RoSPA Occupational Safety Adviser, for Plant and Works Engineering, Roger Bibbings, reports.

 

Auditing the system that should be working to keep things healthy and safe in your business can help to highlight things that work well and that should be maintained, as well as identifying areas that might require increased attention.

An audit is concerned primarily with the quality and implementation of the health and safety management system, and is therefore different from a safety inspection, which usually uses observation to assess physical workplace conditions and activities and check compliance with legal and best practice requirements.

Because auditing requires certain knowledge and skills, many organisations prefer to bring in an external consultant. Some organisations, however, may wish to train a "competent auditor” from among their own employees.

Whichever route is chosen, companies will benefit from an auditing system that meets their specific needs. Some topics will be relevant to all firms, such as policy, organisation and arrangements, or measures for tackling common hazards such as stress or work-related road safety, but others will be specific to the sector in which they operate, such as personal protective equipment, noise and pressure systems.

Because having a good performance record on health and safety is seen increasingly as a competitive advantage, checking that everything is running smoothly is a worthwhile investment at any time.

With the implementation of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act approaching (April 6, 2008), companies might consider now to be a particularly timely moment for such an exercise. They may wish to pay particular attention to the way their directors are leading the health and safety management process.

RoSPA has argued for a long time that organisations that take their health and safety obligations seriously have nothing to fear from the revised legislation. This is where a health and safety audit could bring significant reassurance, while at the same time identifying any gaps and enabling informed decisions to be made to bring about worthwhile improvements.

 

See www.rospa.com/audit/ or call 0121 248 2034 for RoSPA's auditing services.

 

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