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Revised National Self-Insurer Safety Audit Tool: Ready or Not?

Posted by Robert O'Neill on Apr 2, 2013 10:37:00 PM
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1_ohs consultants imageA proposed revision of user guide for the National Self-Insurer OHS Audit Tool (Version 3) is currently in process. The revised draft will be out by the second quarter of this year.

What is its significance in organisational work health and safety? National Self Insurer OHS Audit Tool or NAT is an occupational health and safety audit program containing a set of guidelines/tools that were agreed at a national level, to ensure the quality OHS management systems. It is required in complying with self-insurance licensing requirements.

Self-insurance audits by regulatory bodies are conducted by appropriately qualified and experienced personnel. Various audit training and certification programs are available to ensure that they have the required competency and experience for this work.

But this is not an easy task. Organisations can only implement the needed changes after six months which will form as the transitional period. The prevailing concern among organisations is time constraint. Any organisation will find it difficult to adapt the proposed changes in such a very short transitional period.

It is challenging to an organisation to be audited by the regulator straight away after the expiration of the transitional period. Audits of OHS management systems should assess how effectively the system, including its structure, policies, planning activities, operating procedures, and work practices combine together to manage the risks associated with the organisation’s business. Audits are not designed to measure the performance of individuals working within the system.

The technical complexity lies whether their safety management system is compliant with version 3 of the National Self-Insurer OHS Audit Tool requirements.

Work Safety Australia has suggested ways to help prepare organisations for the expected changes:

  1. Upon the availability of the new NAT, a review must be done. You need to determine first the impact it would create on your safety management system, before doing the necessary changes to the NAT.
  2. The potential impacts that you need to look for include the alterations in the functions of your safety management system as a whole. This is a rare case though, but this should not be ignored.
  3. Think also of the changes in your current processes to address any new NAT requirements. It could probably necessitate the rewriting of procedures and improving supporting tools such as online systems.
  4. Ask yourself, are the changes will impose a certain level of resource requirements on the organisation? Implications on resources are one organisational change impact that can occur, especially in the first stages of implementing changes.

Compliance or consistency with the Work Health and Safety legislation are the most likely the added changes to the existing NAT. Ensure that you communicate the potential impact to your organisation. Starting with the top executives and then to stakeholders. You do not have to go into the details of changes straight away but offer them some solutions on the possible impact on your organisation’s safety management system, resources, and processes.

Initial preparations can be done even if the details of changes are not yet available. This entails formulating a plan that outlines all the activities, regardless of what the changes are. It may include scheduling meetings, consultations, and arranging resources. The plan must be detailed enough to include the courses of actions, timing of regulator audits and enumerated tasks of those responsible in remediation.

Topics: Blog, Reviews, Audits and Inspections