Monitoring & Audit

All about monitoring health and safety

A health and safety system must be a living, functioning thing: it has to be monitored, must adapt and change as the organisation adapts and changes.  One of our consultants visited a potential client and was told that they already had a system in place and indeed, when she went into the Manager’s office, she saw about 15 matching lever-arch files sitting on a shelf, each one neatly labelled with a health and safety topic.  But on picking up a file at random, she found it was………….completely empty.  As were all the others.  No-one in the Company had ever looked in these files, which had been purchased and labelled by the Office Manager (now left).  True story.

If you follow this Guide, you will have a bespoke, simple H&S system which is easy to follow and implement.  Everyone in the organisation must be familiar with it, know where to find it, how to access the Policy and documents.  It should be threaded through every aspect of the organisation.

But no system is any good unless it is monitored and reviewed because that’s how you keep it alive and functioning.  This section will explain how to monitor and audit your system to ensure that it is, and remains, fit for purpose.

The legislation

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act1974
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations

Health and Safety Myth

Employees not allowed to put a screw into a wall

An employee asked for a small screw to be screwed into a wall in their University office.  He was informed that this is “changing the structure of the building” which comes with health and safety concerns e.g. screwing into electrical wiring.  It would therefore require an inspection by estates personnel and the completion of relevant paperwork.

The information provided by the University is unhelpful and disproportionate.  If there are genuine safety concerns about the location of asbestos or electrical wiring behind walls, they should make this clear.  If it is simply a more general policy of not wanting the decoration of the walls to be damaged, they should also make this clear rather than hiding behind bureaucracy.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, unless you have equipment and work processes which have to be assessed by an external auditor or inspector. You should also ask your insurance company if they require external audits. provides a number of forms which you can use. You can also design your own – whatever works for you. But whichever method you choose, you must make sure that you have a means of being alerted when inspections and audits (and servicing, calibration etc) are due so that you are always up-to-date.

This varies from one organisation to another, but there are common areas: accident and near miss reports, risk assessments, COSHH assessments (if applicable), training, working environment, inspections and servicing reports etc.  Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question – the best solution is to read through this section!