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Developing and implementing compliant Occupational Health and Safety practices can often be a challenging process for companies. Many businesses address this through the implementation of the internationally recognised ISO 45001 OH&S Management System, which helps them understand the scope of WHS risks they may be exposed to, and develop compliant practices for managing them. However, some companies may find implementing the ISO 45001 Standards to be cost prohibitive, and look for alternative measures they can take to ensure onsite WHS risks are identified and mitigated. The good news is that there are clear actions organisations in this situation can take, by commissioning an Occupational Health and Safety site audit of their operations. This article will discuss this process, and what benefits it can bring to businesses.
An OH&S site audit reviews existing safety procedures
An OH&S site audit has specialists conduct an initial review of a worksite, its processes, the safety system, and ensures that all staff are trained on health and safety policies and procedures within the organisation. This includes handling emergency scenarios and dealing with incidents.
This process requires OH&S specialists to visit a worksite, understand the day to day operations of the business and conduct a walkthrough assessment to identity existing and potential OH&S risks. The specialists will identify and document all existing risks, and provide the business with a clear Action Plan about what they should be doing to mitigate them, bringing them to compliant levels. Further, companies can discuss the outcomes of the OH&S audit with the specialists to understand the recommendations made, and what actions they should be taking in both the short and long term.
Better understand risks in companies
By commissioning this process, your business will better understand the scope of OH&S risks it is exposed to, and what actions it needs to take to achieve compliance and protect staff. Specifically, an OH&S audit can help organisations comply with the internationally certified ISO 45001:2018 OH&S Standards. ISO 45001 is a recognised international standard for Occupational Health and Safety, and it helps companies manage their compliance to OH&S processes and practices.
By commissioning an OH&S audit on worksites, businesses can effectively meet the requirements outlined in ISO 45001. Another benefit is that through this, the ISO 45001 certification process will be significantly easier if they choose to implement it later, as several key preliminary stages, such as the gap analysis, will have already been conducted, thus minimising the actions businesses must take to achieve certification.
Show your staff that you are committed to a safe operations
Organisations can minimise costs by not working towards achieving ISO 45001 certification until they are ready. An OH&S audit of their existing WHS practices will assess whether the practices are safe, meet legislative requirements and assist in reaching its compliance goals.
Specifically, an OH&S audit helps businesses to:
- Learn about OH&S risks, and what actions can be taken to mitigate them.
- Understand the WHS risks their operations is exposed to, and what needs to be done to uphold staff safety. An OH&S specialist can help the business develop clear processes to protect staff, and train them on identifying and handling risks, and the different types of incidents and the requirements when an incident occurs.
- Assess their OH&S practices against existing workplace legislation, to ensure they are meeting their obligations.
- Minimise costs. An OH&S site audit is cheaper than ISO 45001 certification, as businesses will be able to understand their WHS risks, and how to protect their staff. Through this process, companies will take straight-forward action towards OH&S risks identification and mitigation, and have an understanding of the gaps between their current processes and the requirements of ISO45001 through a gap analysis of their existing practices.
An OH&S site audit is the first step towards ISO 45001 certification
Businesses that have had an OH&S site audit conducted on their operations will find it easier to achieve ISO 45001 certification in the future should they wish to, as the process will be simplified. For example, they may not be required to conduct another gap analysis or risk register of their operations and can move towards working on later steps, such as document development, which includes the creation of manuals and procedures to the standards.
An OHS audit is cost effective compared to ISO 45001 certification, it assists in providing a safe working environment for employees, contractors and visitors and it will cover the basic requirements of the OH&S Act and Regulations.
Our WHS consultants are here to help
With the working year almost over, businesses should be acting now to ensure 2022 is a safe, productive year for them. If, after reading this blog, you have any questions about this process please contact our specialist consultants today by filling out this online contact us form, or by calling them on 1300 802 163 for a quick, obligation-free consultation. Just tell them a bit about your business, including its industry, work type, and location, and they can walk you through this, explaining how your organisations stands to benefit from this process.
After, they can arrange for an OH&S specialist to travel to your worksite, under COVID-Safe conditions, to conduct an audit, thus ensuring your business is in a prime position to begin 2022.
Please click here to read about four important reasons why businesses should consider ISO 45001 certification.