Occupational Health and Safety
(OHS) Auditing is a term used to describe a wide range of assessments that can be undertaken for a variety of different purposes. An OHS management system is a planned, documented and verifiable method of managing OHS hazards. What makes it a system is the deliberate linking and flow of processes that creates an intentional way of managing OHS matters.
Audits are conducted to determine the effectiveness of management systems and to identify the strengths and opportunities for improvements. An audit can be specific and undertaken to determine if workplace practices are meeting legislative requirements. The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) maintains an ongoing inspection and audit program through Workplace Health and Safety Queensland where inspectors test compliance with the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995.
Compliance auditing undertaken by inspectors is not a guarantee of a risk free workplace as a detailed examination of every hazard is not possible during an inspectors visit. The responsibility for ongoing effective health and safety management systems rests with workplace management. The hazards addressed by inspectors during a compliance audit are determined by the workplace environment along with information obtained from specific inspectorate training, relevant injury data and industry input. The outcomes of compliance audits conducted by inspectors give results that indicate if compliance is being achieved or if further actions are required to meet legislative standards.
Employers can undertake similar audits by reviewing the workplace operations using a risk management model. This assessment should be undertaken by appropriately trained internal staff or by external providers. Persons performing these reviews should have experience in hazard identification, risk assessments and possess a strong knowledge of current legislative requirements. This whole Audit processed is carried out in depth and detail.