Ask Gavin: I don't know what to do for my Health & Safety audit. Help!

  • Health & Safety
Man in suit posing
Gavin Scarr-Hall - Director of Health & Safety at Peninsula

Gavin Scarr Hall, Director of Health and Safety

(Last updated )

Whenever a staff issue comes up, Peninsula advisers are on hand to help. There’s no query too big, too small, or too bizarre for our experts to unpack. So, if you’re sitting on a query, don’t hesitate to ask. It’s what keeps our Peninsula clients safe and successful all year round and gives them the peace of mind to focus on their business.

This caller had concerns about how to carry out a Health & Safety audit of their workplace. So they asked Gavin Scarr Hall, Peninsula’s Director of Health & Safety, for expert advice.

Here’s what they had to say…

Hi Gavin,

I want to make sure my workplace is all up to date with the latest H&S laws. I work in a factory so as you can imagine, we’re not short of hazards!

The safety of my employees is my priority but I’ve been putting off doing a proper check because I’ll be honest, I don’t really know where to start. When I’ve looked online, it’s all heavy jargon that I don’t understand and I’m worried I’m going to get something wrong if I try and do it myself.

Any advice on how best to approach this? I need the beginner’s guide!

Cheers,

Anon

Gavin’s reply was…

Hi Anon,

Being proactive about health & safety at work is so important. So, it’s great that you want to take matters into your own hands.

I’d be more than happy to walk you through a Health & Safety audit. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. You should be confident that you’re taking all the right steps to identify your workplace hazards and keep your environment safe for staff.

The whole point of your audit is to help you assess your existing safety procedures and any risks that could present themselves in your workplace. It’s not just a case of ticking off a checklist, it’s about taking proactive measures to protect your staff and anyone who visits your premises.

One thing I just want to make clear is that not everyone can lead a Health & Safety audit. The person leading the audit must be what HSE defines as a “competent person”.

This is someone who “has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly.”

The person heading the audit also shouldn’t be someone who works directly in your environment. For example, an employee shouldn’t audit their own space – but you could ask someone who works in the head office. Alternatively, you could appoint a Health & Safety expert outside of your business altogether.

Once you have the right person to lead the audit, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  1. Collect and review all your health & safety documentation, like your policies, risk assessment and training records, any accident reports, etc.
  2. Collect evidence. You can do this by carrying out interviews with employees to learn how your business implements and maintains health & safety measures. You should also review your current safety measures and any dangerous machinery you use – which will be particularly vital for you as you say you work in a factory.
  3. Write up the findings in a report and consider the safety practices that are working and what could improve.
  4. Look at all your risks – from the minor to the serious.
  5. Take steps to remove and reduce any risks and hazards in your workplace.
  6. Publish your report and make sure all your employees can access it.

To give you a more detailed step by step guide, I’m attaching our guide to health & safety audits. This covers everything you need to know about what an audit is and the process you should follow.

I appreciate that you might have questions and concerns that you would prefer to put to someone directly. So if you’d like to speak to a Health & Safety expert, you can also book in for a free consultation below. Our advisers are always happy to provide support and point you in the right direction.

Hope this helps and good luck with your audit!

All the best,

Gavin

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