What is a SafetyWallet Health and Safety Audit about, and why should Bloemfontein employers have one?

Employers are legally obligated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 to provide a healthy and safe work environment not only for employees, but any person who enters the workplace.

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Overview: The purpose of a health and safety audit

The first question that may be asked by many employers in Bloemfontein, is whether it is a legal obligation to have a health and safety audit conducted. Although it is not a legal obligation, it is, however, highly recommended to have a SafetyWallet Health and Safety Audit conducted.

Employers are legally obligated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 to provide a healthy and safe work environment not only for employees, but any person who enters the workplace.

The SafetyWallet Health and Safety Audit is widely recognised as best practice for employers, regardless of the business’ industry, sector, size or nature of business. This cannot merely be done by completing a checklist backed with minimal defensive measures.

When a health and safety audit is conducted correctly, employers can provide more efficient protection for their employees and clients. When considering the long term, such audits can safeguard the existence of the business.

How can an employer ensure that their health and safety audit is effective? By considering the following five steps which must be followed:

 

1.  Audit planning

An audit can be regarded as a test, and for this reason a test plan must be established before it can be executed. The audit plan must, therefore, consist of basic documentation that refers to the ‘who, what and where’.

As it is an audit, the ‘who’ will refer to the audit team and the ‘what’ will correlate to the audit scope. This includes document tasks, checklists and other guidelines for evaluation. Lastly, the ‘where’ will include the designation or the target areas of the workplace.

2.  Audit execution

Once the audit team has been identified and the audit scope and baseline documents have been defined, the audit can proceed as planned.

The execution of the audit must go beyond the review of certain documents. It must include a physical inspection of the workplaces. Various relevant personnel identified must partake in the audit.

Through this, valuable information, insight and recommendations pertaining to the workforce in the workplace can come to light.

3.  Audit reports

The audit’s test results are integrated with other information into a concise report. The audit report must be well-documented and provide details on variances to the audit baseline and the audit findings.

Descriptions of things that are in order must be indicated, as well as areas where focus and attention for improvement is needed.

4.  Corrective measures, action plans and improvement processing

The audit findings mentioned above must contribute to the continuous processes and improvement efforts to ensure and maintain a safe workplace.

The audit report may contain findings that identify corrective actions. These must be implemented and monitored to ensure the safety of employees.

5.  Communication

A health and safety audit is crucial in protecting employees, morale and business continuity. Employees must have a transparent understanding of the audit and the status of their safety.

Employers must communicate the audit results with the workforce on all levels. By doing this, it ensures understanding and awareness of all safety efforts that the employer makes. It also clearly displays collaborative safety results that supervisors and other line employees have achieved.

The processes involved in a SafetyWallet Health and Safety Audit

The typical audit process that subscribers may expect will involve three elements, namely document checks, interviews with relevant personnel and physical compliance checks.

When relevant documentation is reviewed, it ensures that the subscriber has the required health and safety policies, process documents and suitable arrangements should there be harmful substances and/or high-risk work due to the nature of the business.

When interviews are conducted with relevant personnel, including managers, heads of departments and personnel on the ground, valuable insight can be gathered based on everyday working experiences.

The SafetyWallet Health and Safety Audit can be broken down as follows:

  • The SafetyWallet auditor will review all the elements of the health and safety programme of the subscriber. This will be done against OHSA requirements and regulations, as well as other applicable legislation.
  • The SafetyWallet auditor will assess the effectiveness of the implementation of current arrangements.
  • A workplace inspection will be conducted and the SafetyWallet auditor will measure operations against existing policies, procedures, standards and all other regulation.
  • Operational activities will be sampled by the SafetyWallet auditor.
  • The SafetyWallet auditor will interview relevant management, staff members and partners. In addition, the roles and responsibilities of each participant will be discussed confidentially.
  • Once the audit is completed, the SafetyWallet auditor will provide and present the audit report to the subscriber and their audit team.
  • The audit report will reflect all observations and recommendations followed by an action plan, which will be presented for consideration.

 

info@bloemfonteincourant.co.za