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Health and Safety Directorate

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Audit and Inspection

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has a legal duty to ensure it monitors its health and safety arrangements.  This is partly done proactively through audits and inspections. 

The information below provides a summary of H&S Audits and Inspection processes, however for full details, please refer to the Audit and Inspection Standard:- Audit and Inspection Standard [DOC 84KB] [PDF 382 KB]

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

What is a health and safety audit?

An audit involves gathering information about the H&S management system in place so an assessment can be made of the effectiveness of health and safety policies and risk controls for managing the identified hazards. 

QMUL Audit

The audits follow a Plan > Do > Check > Act model and are intended to be supportive by identifying good practices in place, as well as highlighting any areas where improvements may be required.  The ultimate aim is to use the findings to provide feedback of the effectiveness of the H&S management system to the Head of School / Director so that focus can be applied to the appropriate areas.  In addition, it also aims to promote a positive health and safety culture within the University. 

Audit Programme

A 3-year programme has been put in place in order to ensure that each School / Institute / Directorate receive a health and safety audit within that time.  Any recommendations made will be done so in order to help improve the effectiveness of the H&S management system.  Audit Schedule 2017-2020 [DOC 31KB]

What to expect if you are selected for an audit

The Audit Lead will contact the relevant Function School / Institute / Directorate to advise that they are due for an audit to be undertaken.  A sample of documentation will be requested from the School e.g. policies, risk assessments etc. The following will then happen:-

  • An opening meeting - The Audit Lead will arrange a convenient date to meet the Head of School / Director to explain the audit and its scope.
  • The on-site audit – The Audit Team will interview selected members of staff and students (if applicable), undertake a site tour of key areas and review samples of relevant documentation. Each interview will be scheduled for an hour and a half.
  • The Audit Lead will then write up the draft audit report and action plan.
  • A closing meeting will be arranged once the draft report is completed. The key findings and recommendations will be presented and discussed with the Head of School / Director.
  • Once the final report has been agreed and issued, it will be the responsibility of the Head of School / Director to monitor the actions to ensure they are progressed and completed.  Progress will also be monitored through the QMUL Health and Safety Advisory Group and Faculty / Professional Service H&S Management Group Meetings.

Inspections

What is a health and safety inspection?

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

There are currently four different types of inspections available;

Annual Health and Safety Inspection – This is a thorough inspection led by a Faculty Health and Safety Manager/Adviser who is also responsible for the preparation of the report using MySafety.  This will highlight any findings and recommended remedial actions required.

Should you require assistance in accessing the MySafety system, please contact the H&S helpdesk (hs-helpdesk@qmul.ac.uk) or your Faculty/PS Health and Safety Manager/Adviser.

Self-inspections – These can include daily visual inspections of certain areas or checking equipment prior to use to ensure that there are no obvious defects or hazards, as well as less frequent and more in-depth checks on equipment, observations of work practices and condition of the work environment. A local Department Safety Co-ordinator will normally lead the self-inspection and is responsible for preparing the report using MySafety.

Peer review Inspections – This is an inspection which may involve volunteers from within and/or outside the Faculty.  This may require more resources, but by involving others from outside the Faculty, it can provide a different perspective.  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:

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.

Key Health & Safety Contacts

Ross Baker - r.baker@qmul.ac.uk 

Megan Vagg - m.vagg@qmul.ac.uk 

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