Measuring Performance – What is Auditing?

Auditing aims to find objective evidence (or evidence that’s as objective as possible) for whether the current way of managing health and safety meets the organisation’s health and safety policy and aims.

There are two levels of auditing:

Internal auditing – is done by staff within the organisation and helps managers by measuring the effectiveness of health and safety management.

External auditing – is done by a third party and provides an independent view.  It often represents the interests of other stakeholders as well as management.

Audits typically use three types of evidence:

  • documentation – to check whether it adequately covers the hazards in the organisation
  • interviews – to check that awareness, know-how and resources are appropriate
  • observation – to check what’s described in the documentation is really present in the workplace

Audit findings are of little use unless we act on them.  You may be involved, along with senior management, in producing an action plan to deal with audit findings.

There’s a range of people who’ll be interested in information about an organisation’s performance measurement.  Some will be internal to the organisation, for example:

  • senior management
  • line managers
  • employees
  • safety/employee representatives
  • shareholders

Some will be external to the organisation, for example:

  • enforcement agencies
  • insurers
  • clients
  • the public
  • shareholders.

These people or bodies will need performance information in different formats and for different purposes.

You could also engage your workforce by involving them and asking for suggestions that may improve the working environment.