Caution: Construction and manufacturing companies! You’ll fail your health and safety audit if your employees answer no to these 8 questions

rootComments off.

As you know, there are a whole host of questions you and your employees must answer to see if you’re complying with the OHS Act.

If you don’t know the right questions to be asking your employees, you can’t measure your compliance and you’ll fail your audit.

Now, this sounds all very well and legit.

I love the legalese we use. ‘Measure your compliance’… ‘fail your audit’. We hear terms like these every day, but have you ever really sat down and thought about what we actually mean?

‘Measure your compliance’… ‘see if you’re obeying the laws’. Yawn, who really cares right? Wrong!

If you aren’t checking that your health and safety systems, procedures and protocols are working, that your employees know them or are even following them, then why have them in place at all?

Sure, we can all throw a training manual at our staff and tick that box… Trained… Give our employees PPE and tick again… Provided protective equipment…

Now, nothing can go wrong. Job done. Health and safety done!

But wait, one incident on your factory floor and when that DoL inspector shows up to investigate it’s YOU he will go after!

And trust me, merely saying you trained your employee is NOT enough. Saying you gave John gloves isn’t going to cut it. If he thinks you weren’t enforcing your health and safety procedures like making sure John understood his training and wears his gloves. Or if your own procedures weren’t adequate enough (like you didn’t think John could slice his hand on that open blade), he’ll close you down in a heartbeat. Or fine you so heavily, you’re sure to close your own doors.

And now that I’ve got your attention, here are the eight questions you need to ask your employees, supervisors or even managers when doing your audit…

Eight questions you need to ask your employees, supervisors or even managers when doing your audit…

Let’s look at Piet, your machine operator…

  1. Does he know he should be taking care of his own health and safety? It’s Piet’s duty to ask you for PPE if he knows he needs it. He must make sure his machine is properly guarded so if his hand slips it won’t get sliced up.
  1. Is he aware he needs to also care for his fellow colleagues and any visitors to your factory? I mean caring about THEIR health and safety. Piet needs to make sure they don’t come near his machine without wearing the proper PPE.
  1. Does Piet know he must work with you, the employer or health and safety rep, to follow your health and safety procedures and implement them at all times?
  1. He must do anything you tell him (within reason) to make sure he’s obeying your health and safety procedures. For example, if you tell him he must wear protective goggles and gloves, Piet MUST wear them! He can’t simply ignore you because he feels the gloves are too clunky to work with.

Keep reading for another four questions you need to ask Piet in your audit…

Are you complying with the entire OHS Act and 19 Regulations?

Are you 100% compliant? How can you be sure?

Four more questions to ask Piet in your audit

  1. Does Piet know he has to obey your health and safety rules and procedures? You can really drive your safety message home by giving him a copy of your rules and procedures. And talk about all the risks he needs to look out for when working with his machine.
  1. Piet should already know that he needs to report anything unsafe (like bolts that support the blade of his machine have fallen off) to you or your health and safety rep. Or if there’s a patch of oil under his machine. He needs to tell you so you can check it out and have it fixed.
  1. Are you sure Piet knows to report any incident/near miss to you or the health and safety rep? I’m talking about even the small incidents like a visitor slipping on the oil patch and falling on his back.
  1. And Piet must report these incidents/near misses as soon as possible. Pick your visitor up off the floor, make sure he is okay and can still walk. Then go find the health and safety rep and report it.

If Piet can answer yes, that he knows all the above, then you’ll pass Section 14 of the OHS Act of your safety audit!

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