A safety audit is a crucial process in understanding the overall effectiveness of your safety management system (SMS), but it should entail more than just the identification of workplace hazards and risks. Rather, safety audits should evaluate the overall design of your SMS and how it is being implemented across all areas of your operations.
In addition, a comprehensive safety audit should also look at people, in particular the capabilities of your safety leaders and the overall safety culture that exists within your organisation. A safety audit therefore examines how well equipped your safety leadership is to be able to deliver a safe workplace environment.
Bearing these aims in mind, we have decided to outline five important reasons why your business or organisation should conduct regular safety audits.
1. Demonstrate your commitment to a safety culture
A regular program of safety audits is a positive and proactive way of demonstrating to your workforce and the whole organisation your commitment to safety, not only in terms of identifying risks in the workplace and producing relevant documentation, but also with regard to creating a safety culture. This is because a safety audit examines safety leadership capabilities and therefore the organisation’s ability to deliver a safe working environment for all.
2. Improve the capabilities of safety leaders
A key function of a safety audit is to help safety leaders to better understand not only how effective their SMS is in mitigating risk, but also the ways in which their behaviours impact on an organisation’s safety culture. A detailed analysis of safety leadership is an integral part of a safety audit, and is central to understanding how a safety culture is created and maintained.
3. Ensure that your SMS remains relevant
As your business grows and evolves, it is important that your SMS changes too in order to reflect operational and organisational changes. Regular safety audits are therefore necessary to ensure that your SMS remains relevant and is being implemented effectively. This should include a review of policies and how they are being enacted, the ways in which risk is being mitigated, as well as establishing clear lines of accountability for safety within the organisation.
4. Gaining certification and accreditation
For businesses and organisations seeking certification and accreditation for Australian and international standards, such as AS/NZS 4801:2001, AS/NZS 4804:2001 or OHSAS 18001/2, a safety audit is a crucial part of this process. It enables you to assess your SMS in relation to these standards and identify gaps or areas of weakness which might prevent accreditation. A regular ongoing program of safety audits will then ensure that you are maintaining standards and are continuing to meet the requirements for accreditation.
5. Help for new and developing businesses
For new businesses and enterprises, there is always a lot to do in every aspect of your operations, of which safety may be just one. It is easy in the early days for the development and implementation of a SMS to be put on the back burner, or become neglected during the initial stages of growth or expansion. However, planning for and implementing regular safety audits is a way of ensuring that your safety practices develop in line with the business, and that an effective safety culture is in place from the word go.
Perth safety audit specialists
Barclay Safety Solutions specialises in safety audits for businesses and enterprises of all sizes across a variety of sectors and industries. To find out more about conducting a safety audit of your organisation, get in touch with Barclay Safety Solutions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 0429 305 260.