How to take a performance based approach to Health and Safety Auditing

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Health and Safety AuditThrough my professional relationships and dealings with workplaces on numerous levels and across several jurisdictions, it is apparent that workplaces continue to struggle with the concept of health and safety. Unlike legislation relating to liquor and gaming, health and safety has apparent and notable dissimilarities, one of them being centered on the most feared word in our industry… ‘Compliance’.

The fundamental principles of ‘effective’ risk management outlined within ISO 31000 and health and safety auditing is considered as complicated as rocket science. Unfortunately, once you delve into the new laws, it can get even more complicated!

As a management consultant within the sphere of strategic risk management, the first question the client asks prior to the audit process is, “What do I have to do to be compliant in health and safety?” Following on from this, the next question is “Can you help my workplace be compliant in health and safety?”.  The key word here is the feared ‘compliance’. However, within the domain of risk management and safety management systems, compliance falls far short of what is actually required of the workplace in relation to health and safety.

The new health and safety laws are just that. They warrant workplaces to have safety management systems developed and implemented, not just adhere to minimal compliance.

A fundamental component of any workplace’s safety management system is health and safety auditing. This is pivotal for several reasons, and it’s more than just meeting compliance! In a nutshell, it’s about undertaking a performance-based approach to identify safety management system deficiencies and providing relevant feedback for improvement in a manner that is understood and well communicated for the workplace. More specifically, the workplace’s safety management system in conjunction with its operations needs to be closely examined.

I’m often asked if I can undertake a health and safety audit because the board wants to know if they are compliant with the health and safety laws.  The auditing tool that has been developed by DWS Risk Specialists does a lot more than just compliance – it measures the organisation’s health and safety performance qualitatively and undertakes an in-depth examination of the safety management system’s process criteria, highlighting system deficiencies.

Our safety performance audit tool is unique in its design and incorporates more than 30 years of auditing experience and research. Furthermore, it factors in over 300 professional auditing assignments by certified occupational health and safety auditors with extensive knowledge in occupational health and safety and strategic risk management.

In more depth, the DWS safety performance audit is a non-exhaustive systemic examination of the workplace’s safety management system. As a result, an audit report is compiled, illustrating the potential hazards, risks and non-conformances, and systemic failures. This audit report is presented to the client and discussed with them in detail. Most importantly, it provides feedback and recommendations for improvement.

The DWS Safety Performance Audit focuses on addressing the overall performance of the organisation’s health and safety management system. It does this through addressing areas such as:

  • Planning
  • Health and safety responsibilities
  • Accountability
  • Comparing current documentation and practices against best practice and legislative requirements
  • Ensuring that adequate resources are available to manage health and safety
  • Confirming that resources devoted to health and safety are being utilised effectively
  • Organisational structure
  • Consultation arrangements
  • Implementation of all policies, procedures and activities; hazard identification, assessment and control (risk management), training and competence, measurement, reporting and evaluation
  • Reviewing the OHS system and its overall performance
  • Developing risk mitigation strategies to address the gaps in the organisation’s safety management system through the corrective actions, geared towards helping the workplace strive for continuous improvement.

So next time you ask yourself, “Are we compliant with the new health and safety laws?”, consider how your business could improve on your Safety Management System. If you simply don’t have one of these, then you might need to start considering a new career… perhaps in rocket science!

For more information on how you can protect your business, contact or call (07) 3878 9355

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