How Audits can save your business (and lives)

Audit. It’s one of those words that reeks of compliance and accountability. Neither of these are bad things, but for anyone who isn’t confident in their work practices – regardless of their industry – hearing that they are being audited can make them feel sick in the stomach.

In the construction industry, compliance is literally a matter of life or death. For that reason, audits are a critical factor in maintaining the safety and integrity of a work site.

But they don’t have to be hard, as Rork Projects Systems and Safety Manager, Shane Kennedy explains.

“Success is easily achieved with good preparation, and the same can be said for managing safety practices in a workplace and on construction sites,” he said.

“There is no band aid solution or quick fix for ensuring safe work sites.

“Putting in the effort to build a strong company culture, integrate first class systems and develop well researched procedures is critical to ensure the safety of our employees, sub-contractors, clients and members of the public.

“It also pays dividends when it comes time for audits.”

Shane Kennedy has shared his top five tips to nail your next audit:

  1. Streamline your systems. The Federal Safety Commissioner (FSC) has published safety criteria so whether or not you are accredited, you know the standard to follow. Use them as the foundation for building your systems and processes.
  2. Keep your site safety practices simple. Our Project Managers and Site Managers have so much to manage when delivering a project. Our electronic reporting system allows our Project and Site Managers to complete all required safety inspections and risk assessments in a timely and accurate manner. Making inspections simple and easy is key to ensuring regular reporting.
  3. Conduct internal audits. In one year I can do anywhere from 40 to 50 internal site audits across the four states Rork Projects operates. It gives me peace of mind that our staff are putting our procedures into practice and I can recognise potential issues before they actually become an issue.
  4. Train your staff. The key to success, and the biggest risk to that success is your people. Instil a culture of continued improvement by having them participate in the internal audits, providing them with professional development opportunities and introducing 360 degree feedback.
  5. Spend time on sites. It sounds obvious, but nothing beats spending time on sites to not only see operations first hand but to spend time with staff, clients and contractors. Building rapport with our subcontractors is an incredibly valuable part of winning their support and proactive participation in site procedures.

Having a consistent  and methodical audit timetable will strengthen your control of your projects sites – thus saving time, money and effort for the project owners and contractors, and ensuring contract terms are met for the project.

It also means that you’re no longer putting lives at risk, as well as protecting the health of your business.