In this article we’ll take a look at an approach for gathering information for audits.
Effective health and safety management is a crucial aspect of any successful organisation. It not only helps to protect the health and wellbeing of employees, but also has a positive impact on the overall performance of the business. In order to achieve effective health and safety management, organisations must collect information through audits, which requires well-informed decisions about the level and detail of the audit.
The key question that arises in any audit is: ‘How much sampling is necessary to ensure a reliable assessment?’ This question cannot be answered in a vacuum, as the nature and complexity of an audit varies depending on its objectives, scope, and the size, sophistication, and complexity of the organisation, as well as the maturity of its existing health and safety management system. Therefore, it is important to consider these factors when determining the level and detail of an audit.
Sources of Information
To carry out effective audits, auditors have three sources of information at their disposal. Firstly, they interview individuals at different levels in the organisation to gather information about the operation of the health and safety management system, and the perceptions, knowledge, understanding, management practices, skills, and competence of managers and employees. Secondly, they examine documents such as records, risk control systems, performance standards, procedures, and instructions to ensure completeness, accuracy, and reliability, while considering their implications for competence and understanding. Finally, auditors make visual observations of physical conditions and work activities to verify compliance with legal requirements, and to assess the implementation and effectiveness of workplace precautions and risk control systems.
By carrying out thorough and effective audits, organisations can ensure that their health and safety management systems are robust and fit for purpose. This not only helps to protect employees, but also has wider benefits for the business, such as improved productivity, reduced absenteeism, and enhanced reputation. Therefore, it is essential that organisations take health and safety management seriously, and invest in effective audits to ensure that they are meeting their obligations and protecting their most valuable asset – their employees.