Doing it Differently – Safety Audits

Doing it Differently – Safety Audits

13th March 2017

Just over a year ago, the UK Health and Safety Executive Recruitment Network, in collaboration with SHP Magazine took part in a round table discussion to explore the “Safety Differently” strategy that was developed by John Green during his time with construction giant, Laing O’Rourke in Australia.  Last week we took a look at Safety Differently and how it relates to safety – today, as promised, we’re going to take a look at doing safety audits differently.

When looking at new ways of doing safety audits it’s a great opportunity to design a more constructive audit process so that the audit actually becomes an effective method of ensuring a cycle of continuous improvement.  A Safety Differently Audit will look at how current safety management systems and practices help or hinder the progress towards the defined work and safety goals.  It involves a careful study of existing safety documents, interviews with senior managers and frontline team members and focus groups and workshops.  These are used to identify constraints and conditions, methods and resources and the key challenges that will ensure enhanced safety systems and practices.  The audit process itself results in information that can be used to implement innovative systems and practices that align more closely with stated Safety Differently objectives.

The Safety Differently Audit should:

·         Transform the safety vision into practical steps that can be used to increase awareness and enhance safety

·         Identify what is effective in the systems, processes and practices

·         Generate solutions to address any conditions and constraints

·         Align future work practices with vision and safety strategy.

While traditional types of safety audit are formulated in order to reveal deviations and non-conformance from a standard, the Safety Differently Audit uses the vision that the organisation has set as a starting point.  It examines the conditions and opportunities for change so that it’s outcome-, solution- and future-focused.  The Safety Differently Audit considers the following issues:

·         How people are empowered to make decisions

·         Access to information

·         Learning practices from failures and normal performance

·         How people are set up for success

·         How processes either hinder or enhance safety and safe practice

As we revealed last week, our way of thinking about safety which is that:

·         People are the solution

·         Safety is the presence of positives

·         Safety is an ethical responsibility

The benefits to any company of regular safety audits include:

·         A confirmation that the health and safety systems and arrangements in place meet the standard required

·         It’s an ongoing opportunity to demonstrate continual improvement within your company

·         It’s a recognised standard for supporting commercial tenders and proposals.

A Safety Differently Audit will help you take the first steps towards doing safety differently so that you can transform your company into one in which people are the solution and safety is understood to be the capability to create successful outcomes with people taking responsibility for themselves and their colleagues.