How to create a health and safety audit template

Creating a health and safety audit template can be a daunting prospect. How do you know where to start?

20 July 2022

Work Wallet being used for audits on a construction site, with health and safety audit template

Creating a health and safety audit template can be a daunting prospect. How do you know where to start?

Having a health and safety audit template - or indeed, an H&S audit itself - is not specifically required by law. However, it is highly recommended by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). You can analyse and manage risks more effectively.

At Work Wallet, we think the best place to start is with your business needs. The format of the health and safety audit template you create will vary. It depends on the type, size and complexity of your business, and the scope of the task at hand. Here are a few different approaches you can use.

Simple checklist for your health and safety audit template

For small businesses, specific sub-divisions, or audits focused on specific risks or tasks, a simple checklist may be all you need. This type of health and safety audit template is quick and easy to complete.

Separate your different risk groups into sections. Your desired section structure will depend on factors relevant to your specific situation. However, obvious areas to set out include but may not be limited to:

  • Authorities, permissions, and work permits
  • Communication
  • Ergonomics (e.g. DSE)
  • Fire
  • Governance
  • Heat / sun / UV
  • Leadership
  • Noise
  • Plant and machinery
  • Policies
  • Security (IT, data, cyber)
  • Security (physical)
  • Miscellaneous (for areas which do not fall neatly elsewhere, but still need capturing!)

chemical hazard symbolsThen for each section, create a sub-list of various aspects you need to check. For example, under your chemicals section:

  • Are chemicals stored securely?
  • Are combustible materials stored away from electrics and ignition sources?
  • Are they labelled correctly and obviously?
  • Are your chemicals in date?
  • Are instructions for use available and up to date?
  • Appropriate safety containers are being used?
  • Is personal protective equipment (PPE) available for handlers?
  • Is emergency and personal cleaning equipment available (e.g. eye baths, showers)?

Once your health and safety audit template is set up, a simple yes/no tick box may be all you need.

You will also need spaces for recording the location, date, time, and the signature of the person doing the audit.

This sort of approach to auditing may work particularly well for regular task-orientated checks. For example, you may need shift managers to do pre-start checks of their work area.

Comprehensive approach to creating a health and safety audit template

Larger businesses, or those with more complex risks, may need a more comprehensive approach. This might include a mix of checklists, interviews, and observations, as well as assessment of risk.

It is important to involve employees in this process. They can offer valuable insights into how health and safety procedures are actually being followed on the ground. Therefore, when creating your health and safety audit template, leave room for free text to record these comments and observations.

You may also want to capture more information than a simple yes/no approach allows. For example, it is common to build in a sliding scale or scoring matrix, giving you greater insight.

Adding detail to your health and safety audit templates

This might involve sub-dividing assessments under each listed category into something more detailed, such as:

Sub-category name

Safe / At risk / Not applicable

Likelihood of occurrence

Likely to occur / May occur / Not likely to occur

Impact

Fatality / Disability / Medical treatment / Incident report only

Risk rating

High / Medium / Low

Control measures

A free text box for a description of measures in place, or that need implementing

risk matrix colour coding for a health and safety audit template or risk assessment templateSimple colour coding

If you prefer your health and safety audit template to be presented more visually, consider using a colour coded matrix.

For example, a simple solution could be to rank your risks by balancing Likelihood and Impact. Give each factor a rating on a Low / Medium / High scale, and then cross-reference them.

Your risk is Low overall if both Likelihood and Impact are rated low. Conversely, your risk is obviously High if you rank both factors high on the scale. A High/Medium rating combination typically means you are at Medium Risk.

Advanced scoring

You can take your health and safety audit templates a step further, by adding a numbering system or scoring matrix, and colour coding. There is no set or agreed approach for this, so pick a method that works for you.

For example, you can create a matrix that produces an overall risk factor by multiplying Impact by Likelihood. Your formula for this is:

Risk = Likelihood x Severity

It is common to allocate each factor a three-, four-, or five-point scale.

A five-point scale might look like:

risk matrix scoring for a health and safety audit template or risk assessment templateLikelihood

  1. Rare
  2. Unlikely
  3. Possible
  4. Likely
  5. Certain

Impact

  1. Insignificant
  2. Minor
  3. Moderate
  4. Major
  5. Fatality

Therefore, your scoring range is 1 (extremely low risk) to 25 (extremely high risk).

You can then use this to give each risk an overall ranking, and colour code accordingly:

Red – Urgent: Immediate action required

Amber – High priority: Review and take appropriate action within a short set timescale

Green – Medium priority: Review and take appropriate action within a longer set timescale.

This helps you quickly see which risks need addressing urgently, and which can be given a lower priority. It also allows you to review progress over time, as the actions you have taken start to bring down the overall rating of certain risks.

Keep it in context

You must always remember that your health and safety audit template is a tool for you to use. As such, it should be simple and easy to use. There is no point creating a document that is unwieldy, hard to fill out, and does not make sense at the end!

Therefore you must properly define any scoring or colour coding mechanism you use. For instance, if you are ranking Impact as "Insignificant", what does insignificant mean to you? If the Likelihood of something is "Rare", at what threshold does a rare occurrence become an unlikely one?

Sometimes simplicity is best. The more complex your health and safety audit template is, the more information and value you might get from it. But only if it is easy to use, analyse and understand. Do not create a document that is an unnecessary time-sink that does not add value to your business.

Health and safety audit software does the hard work for you!

Audits and Inspections App for doing a health and safety auditIn this blog, we have tried to demystify the complexities of creating a health and safety audit template that works for you. However, there is still a lot to take in, and various options and approaches you could take.

Creating a health and safety audit template does not have to be complicated or time consuming though. With the right approach and tools, you can create a document that is easy to use, provides valuable insights, and helps you manage risks more effectively.

Health and safety software can be a useful tool for conducting audits. It can help you save time by digitalising some of the tasks involved, such as data collection and analysis. And it can provide valuable insights into trends over time which can help you identify areas for improvement.

Work Wallet is an all-in-one health and safety app. It helps businesses manage health and safety more effectively, with everything you need all in one place. Our modular software includes a wide range of flexible and configurable features. It includes a dedicated Audits & Inspections module, and a Risk Assessments section as well.

This streamlines and partially automates your audit process, providing things such as:

- Online forms and templates

- Automated reminders

- Action tracking

- Built-in reporting and analytics

Work Wallet creates and operates your health and safety audit template for you. It is fully configurable to your needs, offering a mix of pre-populated or bespoke and customisable drop-down menus. It works whether you want a basic health and safety audit template or more comprehensive option.

Once you have collected your data, our health and safety software can also help you turn it into insights and actions. Work Wallet includes an advanced reporting dashboard as standard. With this, you can create and export branded reports with a mouse click or screen tap.

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about our health and safety app, please get in touch. You can also book a demo. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and see how we could help streamline your audit process.

 


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