Health and Safety Directorate

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Audit and Inspection

Audit and Inspection

The Audit Lead within the Health and Safety Directorate will undertake health and safety audits.  Audits undertaken can be accessed and updated by going to the MySafety site.

For a step by step guidance on how to complete audits and inspections on MySafety, click here:  MySafety Audit & Inspection Guidance [PDF 862KB]

Health and safety audits assess the effectiveness of procedures in meeting the requirements of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) health and safety policies and therefore satisfying statutory provisions. Auditing and monitoring are essential management tools in the implementation and development of safety systems and promoting a positive health and safety culture within the University.

Commencing in 2017, the current audit schedule will run across a 3-year programme so by 2020 all management units are to be audited as per the University Audit Schedule (Below). QMUL Health and Safety Directorate (HSD) use the MySafety audit package which is based on the OHSAS 18001:2007 standard and HASMAP audit tool. The audit aims to be a supportive one in order to help the department to assess the effectiveness of their health and safety management system.  It will also provide feedback around areas of good practice as well as areas of improvement. There are five stages in the audit process which are outlined below.

 Stage One- Selection Process

A department will be selected for audit in accordance with the University audit schedule. The selection may change from the published audit schedule if concerns exist within the department or is brought to the attention of the HSD about the appropriateness of management arrangements and systems to the current activity being undertaken.

Stage Two - Desktop Study

Approximately four weeks before the audit, the Audit Lead will contact/meet with the Head of School or Director to agree the framework and request the documents outlined in the terms of reference, which may include information such as:

  • Health and safety policy
  • Safety inspections and associated actions plans
  • Training records and training plans
  • Reports of self-audits and inspections
  • Sample risk assessments and safe operating procedures
  • Minutes of safety meetings

The audit team will review and examine the documentation received to formulate and develop their understanding of the operational arrangements and system controls of the audit area before conducting the audit. This will enable the audit team to familiarise themselves with the activities undertaken within the function being audited and ensure they can focus on key areas of risk.

Stage Three – The Audit

The audit will comprise of private and confidential interviews with a number of key staff and students (if applicable) within the selected function. This is followed by observations, inspections and further review of documents and records.  Each interview is scheduled for an hour and a half and a maximum of 15 interviews will be arranged.  The auditors aim to be as flexible as possible so that any disruption to day to day operation of the function is kept to a minimum.

Stage Four – Post Audit Follow-Up

Post audit follow-up work may be required to be undertaken with the departmental contact to discuss and clarify any outstanding matters. A number of various methods including e-mail, telephone and face-to face meetings will be used to do this with minimal disruption.

Stage Five – The Audit Report

The Audit Lead will prepare the written report and ensure all actions are uploaded to the MySafety audit report template within the agreed timeframe of the audit date.  Once complete, a meeting will be arranged with the Head of School or Director along with other relevant staff members in order to feedback and discuss key findings and recommendations.  The audit summary report will be issued at this stage and will contain an action plan along with suggested timescales for completion. The full report including all observations and findings will be made available on the MySafety site. 

The appropriate person(s) to update and close off completed actions on MySafety will be identified during the feedback meeting.  The Head or Director will then be required to monitor the actions to ensure they are progressed and completed.  The QMUL Health and Safety Advisory Group will monitor the progress so updates will need to be provided to them at regular intervals.   

The Audit Lead is responsible for the administration of the whole audit process, including the opening and closing meetings and for producing the audit plan and report.

For further details regarding health and safety audits, please refer to the Audit and Inspection Procedure 

Health and Safety Inspections

Workplace inspections are one of the primary methods of identifying and eliminating actual and potential hazards. These hazards can include problems with equipment, the environment, the building and with work practices.

There are currently four different types of inspections available;

Annual Health ands Safety Inspection 

The aim of annual health and safety inspection is for departments to have a minimum once a year through health and safety inspection that is led by a Faculty Health and Safety Manager/Adviser.

The annual health and safety Inspection will include:

  • An assessment of the elements of the local health and safety management system and effectiveness of the local procedures, including checking documents such as risk assessment, statutory inspection records, maintenance and test records, training records etc.
  • A thorough inspection of all physical aspects of the workplace, including work equipment and activities.
  • Checking on adherence to agreed safe systems of work, permit to work systems, local safety rules, utilisation of personal protective equipment etc.

The Faculty/PS Health and Safety Manager/Adviser for the area normally leads the annual inspection and is responsible for the preparation of the report using MySafety system. Union Safety representatives are invited and encouraged to attend the annual inspections.

It should be noted that annual inspection is not a substitute for routine health and safety checks, self-inspections, maintenance and testing.

Self-inspections can be carried out in a number of ways, for example daily visual inspections of certain areas or equipment prior to use may be undertaken to ensure that there are no obvious defects or hazards.  Where there are actions to be taken however, it is important that they are reported to the appropriate teams to resolve any issues such as Security, Maintenance, ITS etc.  Alternatively, there may be a schedule of more formal inspections that are recorded.  These can include a general walk around with managers or a termly inspection of a specific area such as a laboratory or workshop for example.

Records of self-inspections should be recorded on MySafety system along with the remedial action taken.  Inspection templates for Offices, Workshops and Laboratories are available on the MySafety system which can be accessed via the following link:  Should you require assistance in accessing the MySafety system, please contact the H&S helpdesk ( or your Faculty/PS Health and Safety Manager/Adviser.

The Department Safety Co-ordinator from each area normally leads the self-inspection and is responsible for the preparation of the report using MySafety system. Consideration should be given to the other members of the inspection team who will be involved to ensure that there is sufficient knowledge around the activities, equipment or work areas being inspected.  

The whole school or department does not need to be inspected on the same day or week or all the items included in the checklist be covered during each inspection, although, the gap between inspections should not exceed 12 months.


[PDF 382 KB]

Peer review Inspections

The Executive Dean of Faculty or Faculty Health and Safety Management Group may decide to implement a wider peer review inspection system than the self-inspection system noted above, involving volunteers from within and/or outside the Faculty. If the Faculty so decides to proceed with this type of inspection, it must ensure that it has sufficient resources (personnel, time, and arrangements) to undertake the process.
The reporting procedures for peer review inspections will be as same as self-inspection process. The Health and Safety Directorate will provide support and monitor the quality of peer review inspections by sample observations.
Current peer review inspection programmes can be found here, along with inspection checklists, guidance and process documents:

We are always looking for volunteers to implement the peer review process. Should you be interested in carrying out peer reviews please contact the Health and Safety Directorate at

Specific hazard related inspections
Under the relevant regulations governing the use of ionising radiation and genetically modified organisms or micro-organisms, there is a legal duty for the Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) to inspect ionising radiation areas and work and for the Genetically Modified Safety Committee (GMSC) overseeing the genetically modified project to inspect the GM work / work areas. This is generally advised to be annually or at relevant frequencies. It is responsibility of RPA and the QMUL Biological & GMSC, respectively, to fulfil these roles and facilitate arrangements for inspections in close liaison with the School / Institute.
Other 'high hazard' work or areas may need reviewers external to the Faculty such as Health and Safety Advisers, external experts, other peer reviewers to inspect the work in for example, Containment Level 3 laboratories or High Powered Open laser areas. It may also be prudent to conduct additional self-inspections before any regulatory authority inspections from the Health and Safety Executive, Home Office, Fire Brigade or Environment Agency. Further advice on this can be sought from the QMUL Health and Safety Directorate.

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