Last edited 27 Mar 2018

Safety audit

Buildings can present a great number of risks, both in construction and operation. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimate that around 4% of construction workers suffer from a work-related illness every year, and 3% sustain a work-related injury. This results in around 2.2 million working days being lost each year.

Safety audits are carried out to assess health and safety processes on construction sites, considering; legislative requirements, industry best practice, and the contractor’s own health and safety management systems.

They can demonstrate that a proactive approach is being taken to safety, can help to improve ways of working and ensure procedures are being followed, as well as demonstrating compliance with regulations such as the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, which require reasonable steps are taken to ensure the health and safety arrangements made for managing the project are maintained and reviewed throughout a project.

Regular audits can form a crucial part of the project management process, and may be undertaken by in-house personnel, or by an independent auditing body.

Some of the issues that might be assessed during a safety audit include:

  • Notices and signage are appropriate and in place, clear and visible.
  • Zones and activities are effectively separated from one another.
  • Access routes and walkways are well demarcated.
  • Hazardous substances are properly contained.
  • A health and safety plan is in place.
  • First aid equipment and first aiders are available.
  • There are processes for reporting accidents on site and near misses, and learning from issues that emerge.
  • There is an effective emergency strategy in place.
  • Evacuation routes are in place.
  • Workers are provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • There are appropriate welfare facilities.
  • There is provision in place for safety training, such as site inductions, toolbox talks, safety briefings and so on.
  • The site boundary is secure.
  • There is appropriate lighting and security measures in place.
  • The site is relatively clear of debris and materials are appropriately stored.
  • Management systems are in place to ensure that duties under CDM are fulfilled.
  • The Health and safety file is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Subcontractors are conforming to the health and safety requirments of the main contractor.

Safety audits differ from safety inspections in that they are organised at the discretion of the client or contractor, rather than being undertaken without notice by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

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