Is a health and safety audit worthwhile?

I have been approached by a consultancy offering a health and safety audit for my company. They say I will save money on my employers’ liability insurance and it will help me protect myself against potential employee litigation but it seems expensive. How much should I expect to pay and are these audits worthwhile?

A. Keith Stibbards of ACE European group writes:

A health and safety audit carried out by independent consultants is a useful tool. It should identify strengths and weaknesses in your health and safety management programme and test the elements that make up your safety policy and supporting arrangements.

The scope of these audits varies. You must exercise your judgment on those on offer in relation to the type and size of your company. As a rough guide for a company employing 400-500 people, I would expect to pay a fee of about £3,000 for a thorough audit. This pays for an on-site consultant for three days, a senior management debrief and the audit report. The audit itself won’t help protect you against employee litigation nor will it qualify you for an automatic reduction on your EL premiums. Only you can do that by acting upon the recommendations in the report to ensure that you are observing your legal obligations.

A well managed health and safety programme provides financial benefits particularly in relation to controlling uninsured losses. In short, you will save money. In the long run you will be more aware of your legal duties and how ideas can be developed to enhance your existing safety programme. If the audit assists you in avoiding even a couple of small claims the audit has paid for itself and set you on the right path.


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