A few interesting words about safety audits…

Health and safety equipmentYou might think that there are no interesting words associated with safety audits, but this article aims to prove you wrong. It’s packed full of interesting words and facts about the English language, and more importantly it will highlight just how important it is to carry out thorough and effective safety audits. Read on to find out more…


“Bookkeeper is the only word in the English language that has 3 sequential sets of double letters.”

Pretty interesting right?  However, that’s a different type of auditing; we’re talking about occupational health and safety audits. Safety audits are an essential part of a successful business. Effective health and safety auditing not only provides the legal framework for compliance, it also lays the foundations for continuous safety improvement to enhance competitive advantage. The main duty of any health and safety auditor is to look at your organisation’s safety management systems and assess them in line with the chosen criteria.

“Almost” is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.”

It’s also, perhaps, one of the most depressing. “Almost” is another word for “nearly” or “not quite” – it brings to mind wooden spoons and consolation prizes. It can also, when in relation to safety, have dangerous implications. “Almost done,” means a job is incomplete. “Almost safe” is another way of saying dangerous. The purpose of a safety audit is to rid your organisation of “almosts” and “approximatleys” and instead to ensure every job is done thoroughly. It is an opportunity to take stock of your vulnerabilities, and then take steps taken to remedy them. Then, and only then, will you be able to step onto the podium as a winner, rather than as a runner-up.

Only two words end with ‘gry’ – hungry and angry. iStock_000016647461Small

Fail to carry out a safety audit and you could make many people angry. There are multiple reasons for carrying out a safety audit. Most people would correctly state that it is a legal requirement; however, it is arguably equally important to do so for moral and ethical reasons. It ensures that the systems you have in place are working efficiently and are fit for purpose. It also helps to identify areas for improvement and potential weaknesses within the organisation. It is no coincidence that when the HSE conduct their investigations into major accidents, it usually highlights health and safety management failures as being the root of the cause.

Overall, an audit demonstrates that the management are committed to the health and welfare of employees, customers and all other stakeholders.

keyboardThe word typewriter can be written using only the top row of a keyboard.

You will definitely need a keyboard for your audit! There are three essential elements needed to evidence a successful audit. Firstly, you need to have the correct documentation in place; up-to-date Health and Safety policies, process documents, suitable arrangements for harmful substances etc.

Secondly are the interviews with managers and heads of departments.   Auditors need to speak to these people at suitable times. These interviews ask the vital question “is it in place?”

Finally, there is the evidence. Are the policies and processes being carried out? Here, the auditor will talk to the people on the ‘shop floor’ and find out the actual processes being carried out. In some cases, staff will actually be using better methods, so it is important to notice these, as well as identifying areas where processes are not being carried out.

“Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis is the longest word in the English dictionary”

Now try to pronounce it! Luckily, safety audits are much easier to get your head around, and by now you should have a good grasp of what they are and what you need to do. If you require further information then RoSPA have a whole host of packages that will help you find the right audit for your business.

Now read:

Who is handling your safety audits? Internal vs. external

Safety audits and inspections

Audit Selection tool

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