Health and Safety auditing of practices and procedures – How to get it right when you’re time poor

If there is one thing lacking in every business from a start-up to a multi-national corporation, it is the time needed to get things done. With tasks and activities competing for a priority notch on your to-do list, squeezing everything in – including an audit of health and safety practices and procedures – is almost impossible.  So how can you audit your health and safety practices and processes when time is short?

The foundation of the audit

An audit of health and safety should have a firm foundation and that means you should know what you are looking for.

Once you have the parameters broadly set out, you have a basis for an audit now and in the future. However, don’t forget, health and safety is a fluid and changeable entity and so these factors may need tweaking slightly but not rewriting every time;

  • What are the risks and levels of risk?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your safety procedures and practice?
  • Are you legally compliant?
  • Does documentation and practice match with best practice and legal obligations?
  • What improvements can you suggest?
  • Do you have adequate resources?

Three small steps

To complete the audit, you need to take three small steps but allow sufficient time to complete each of these;

Step 1 – Answer questions

Start by answering the question of whether your documentation relating to health and safety is still compliant. Secondly, answer this question in terms of actual practice in the workplace. In other words, is what you say you do meeting the legal requirements of health and safety in the workplace but is what is physically happening compliant.

Step 2 – Write a report

This is your ‘audit findings’ report and should clearly set out the risks identified and an assessment of the level of risks.

Step 3 – An action plan

It may be that you are broadly compliant with a few slips here and there or you may have identified a gaping hole in your health and safety legal compliance in terms of practice.

No matter how big or small the level of risk is determined, there needs to be an action plan.

Of all the steps, it may be this one that takes the most time. Not only does it have to be detailed, it needs to be determined what steps are taken and at what level of management.

Repeat & Review

This initial audit report is important for many reasons, but one is that the next time you audit, this will be used as the benchmark.

The next time you conduct an audit, you can kick-start the whole process with ‘what’s changed?’ but the thing about an audit is, that once the basics are in place, you have a platform from which to work.

As important as health and safety is, when you are time poor, an audit needs to be conducted thoroughly but efficiently.

How can we help you?

If you are in need of assistance with any aspect of Health and Safety management, here at Synergos we’d be delighted to help. Whether you have questions or are looking for advice and support to maintain standards, call 01484 666160 or Email and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.



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Steve Kilburn
Steve Kilburn
I initially trained as an industrial chemist working in a variety of manufacturing environments eventually moving into quality management which grew to encompass environmental and occupational health and safety management systems. I hold a Masters Degree in Health and Safety law and Environmental Law and a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Waste Management and I am a Graduate Level Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). In my spare time I enjoy reading, my favourite author is Stephen King, and listening to music, generally from the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
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