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UpdatesMar 11, 2011

Health and safety audits and inspections – What you need to do

Health and safety audits and inspections go hand in hand with each other and are an imperative part of keeping your workplace free from OHS risks.

By Joanna Weekes

Health and safety audits and inspections go hand in hand with each other and are an imperative part of keeping your workplace free from OHS risks. It is important that you take a proactive approach to a safe workplace instead of assuming everything is fine until a problem is brought to your attention or an incident occurs.

What are OHS inspections and audits?

An inspection is the process of examining your workplace (you can inspect the whole workplace or target a specific area of operation) to identify any hazards that may be putting your employees at risk. This process can be either an informal walk around the site or a formal, planned inspection.

An audit is a documented method of reviewing your systems of safe work as they are carried out in the workplace, to ascertain whether they comply with OHS legislative requirements, or whether they need to be amended.

How often should you be conducting inspections and audits?

Please refer to the table below for a guide as to the frequency that different areas of your workplace should be inspected and by whom:

Assessment TypeFrequencyWhereBy
External Audit3 yearlyWhole workplaceIndependent assessor
Internal AuditAnnuallyWhole workplaceInternal specialists
Walk-through InspectionQuarterlyWhole workplaceSenior management
Walk-through InspectionMonthlyEach departmentDepartmental managers
Checklist InspectionWeeklySpecific work areasSupervisors and Health and Safety Reps
Pre-shift InspectionDailySpecific itemsEmployees
Safety Critical CheckPre-startSpecific itemsOperators
Hazard ReportingOngoingSpecific work areasEmployees
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