Your Health And Safety Audit Checklist

Posted in Blog on Sep 15, 2022

Your Health And Safety Audit Checklist

Safety audits enable workplaces to produce a formal record of all the potential risks and hazards the site poses. Carried out by external safety officers or an internal competent person, audits enable an organisation to evaluate the efficiency and reliability of their current health and safety procedures. With so many safety audits and inspections to organise, ensure you are using comprehensive safety audit software and checklists to keep track.

What Are Safety Audits?

Safety audits allow for organisations to carry out expert assessments of their health and safety processes and prevention measures. It encourages places of work to evaluate their business and look for ways to mitigate any risks that are identified, preventing workplace incidents and injuries.

When businesses carry out these audits, often a health and safety audit checklist is used to aid their process. The safety audit must address whether their current procedures are serving their purpose and delivering the intended results. A safety audit checklist ensures nothing gets missed, and each step is relevant to their specific industry’s requirements.

The Importance Of Health And Safety Audits

While all employers (with over five employees) are legally obliged to have a health and safety policy, no place of work is legally bound to carry out a compliance audit. Despite this, they are widely recognised as an essential practice. Carrying out regular safety audits allows your organisation to ensure that you are operating by UK laws and Health and Safety Executive’s Best Practices.

It is recommended that organisations of all sizes and spanning all sectors arrange regular audits. Doing so helps achieve the most important aim of safety audits: protecting members of staff, visitors and customers.

Additional Benefits Of Health And Safety Audits

Health and safety audits also offer several additional benefits. Taking the time to conduct a thorough safety audit will also help to safeguard your business. Not only will you be protecting your assets but you will be protecting your reputation by mitigating the chance of an incident. All health and safety incidents spread unfavourably through the media, reflecting negatively on your company name and finances.

In cases where there has been a breach of health and safety, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will look to prosecute. But, by keeping on top of your health and safety audits, you will be able to address these issues before they are deemed a failure.

As an employer, it is possible to attract and retain employees. By actively auditing the site to mitigate the chance of illness, injury and fatality, you are seen as an employer that takes employee well-being seriously. Similarly, as the audit will highlight the areas where you have been successful, the relevant parties can be rewarded.

Carrying Out A Health And Safety Audit

A safety audit will often include a review of all your documentation relating to your health and safety policy. For example, if your organisation uses/produces harmful substances, your audit will need to include a check into the arrangements you have in place for their storage/removal.

Using a comprehensive health and safety audit checklist, all potential hazards on site must be investigated. This includes speaking to all managers, department heads and ‘shop floor’ employees to ensure current policies are used. At the end of an audit, all members of staff must be informed of any improvements that are required.

What To Include In A Safety Audit Checklist

The more detail in your safety audit checklist the better. In addition to checking documents and interviewing staff, it should include all elements and parts of the building that require regular inspections. In addition to mentioning the identified risks, these health and safety audit checklists must grade the severity of each risk.

For businesses within the construction industry, their safety audit checklist will be considerably longer than other organisations. To guarantee all their activities have been audited and that every risk has been identified and evaluated, the following list will offer a good starting point. Please note that this is by no means an exhaustive list:

  • Work carried out at a height
  • Working in small, confined spaces
  • Working with electricity
  • Working around or over water
  • Uneven and slippery surfaces
  • Use of machinery
  • Use of vehicles or the movement of vehicles
  • Use of compressed air
  • Use of fire or explosive materials
  • Manual handling
  • Presence of hazardous substances and gases
  • Presence of asbestos
  • Presence of hazards above workers

Your safety audit checklist should help your competent person or external inspector check your hazards. For example, for a risk of fire or explosions, your checklist would go on to ask questions to further air the inspection of this risk. These questions may include:

  • Are the employees aware of the fire evacuation procedure?
  • Is there a working fire alarm system in place?
  • Do all the fire exit doors open easily from the inside?
  • Are there suitable fire extinguishers on-site? Are these correctly labelled, free of obstruction and near the site of the risk?

Conducting Your Health And Safety Audit Efficiently

With your checklist in place, you will be able to streamline your next health and safety audit. While free safety audit templates are a good way to get started, you are better off customising your checklist so you can be sure it reflects your premise’s layout and your industry’s safety regulations. In addition to keeping on top of your safety audit checklists, you can also improve the efficiency of your health and safety audit by the following:

Check Your Compliance

A compliant safety audit will top a thorough audit any day. Before carrying out your health and safety audit, it is good practice to compare your safety audit checklists against the regulations. If there have been any amendments to the laws, you can ensure this is not missed within your inspection.

Schedule In Audits

Whether you opt for quarterly or annual inspections, setting regular intervals to carry out your safety audits mitigates the chance of your business being deemed non-compliant. How regularly you schedule your checks may also depend on how often you introduce new tools and equipment into your workplace. If any modifications are made, your health and safety audit checklist must be amended to ensure it is included.

Thorough Documentation

It is crucial that as you complete your safety audit you are keeping detailed records on your health and safety audit checklist. Your checklist should include detailed observations including a scale of how safe each item is and how much risk is posed. Details of how the risk is minimised should also be included, doing so will only stand your business in good stead ahead of a formal inspection or updating your health and safety policy.

Meticulous Records Of Documentation

Not only is it important to keep detailed recordings, but these records need to be stored and distributed to the relevant parties. Fortunately, it is now possible to implement software that allows audits and inspections to be logged with all the relevant documentation. These safety inspection softwares allow for photographic evidence and annotation to be attached throughout the reports.

Implementing A Safety Audit System

By streamlining your risk management tools, you can improve the planning, implementation and management of your health and safety inspections. With RiskMach, a comprehensive regulatory compliance platform, you can improve your business’s efficiency over health and safety audits.


What is included in a safety audit?

A safety audit should include a thorough inspection of all the hazards within your business, including an evaluation of the safety measures that have been put in place.

Why is a safety audit important?

A safety audit helps a business ensure they are complying with health and safety regulations before a formal inspection. Not only does this mitigate the risk of workplace accidents and incidents, but it also reduces the chance of an HSE officer failing you during a safety check.

How is the safety audit done?

As safety audits are not a legal requirement, a company can arrange their own safety audits at regular intervals to suit themselves. However, if new equipment or machinery has been introduced, a safety audit should be carried out to update your health and safety records.

Who performs safety audits?

These inspections can be carried out by external health and safety auditors or a competent person within your business.

Should you use an external or in-house auditor?

This is purely down to personal choice. Some businesses look to outsource this inspection to save time and effort; however, other businesses like to keep control of their assessments by using an in-house member of staff. For the latter, a competent person is appointed – “someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly.”

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