12 Questions for Top Management about OHS

Board meeting


When conducting an audit, one of the first things the auditor will do on-site after the opening meeting is conduct an interview with the organisation’s Top Management.

While this can be a very daunting task even for a seasoned auditor, the following twelve questions are designed to help. These are all questions which we believe Top Management should know about their Occupational Health and Safety management system.

The first in a three-part series, we discuss some handy hints any auditor should know when conducting an OHS Management System audit.

1. Does your OHS policy include the commitment to establish measurable objectives and targets to ensure continued improvement? (Clause 4.2c)

2. Are your organisation’s OHS objectives and targets actually measureable? And do you measure them? (Clause 4.2c)

3. Are your OHS objectives and targets cascaded through the organisation and do they align from top to bottom? (Clause 4.3.3)

4. Are your organisation’s OHS targets focussed on lead indicators that you can actually control? (Clause 4.3.3)

5. Do you have documented procedures that cover all the methods that your organisation uses to identify, assess, and control hazards and risks? (Clause 4.3.1)

6. Does your organisation identify its training needs in consultation with its employees? (Clause 4.4.2)

7. Is your employee and consultation process documented and agreed to by your employees? (Clause

8. Do your hazard identification, assessment, and control processes take into account how your employees, subcontractors, and visitors get to your workplace, including drive in drive out, fly in fly out, and people generally travelling for their work? (Clause 4.4.6)

9. Do the people who you require to conduct risk assessments fully understand the risk assessment process that you require them to do? (Clause 4.4.2)

10. When risks have been identified, are they controlled using the hierarchy of control, eliminated as a first priority with personal protective equipment the last resort? (Clause

11. When controls are identified how do you know they have actually been implemented? (Clause

12. Do you effectively test all forms of emergency response including those not covered by an evacuation drill? (Clause 4.4.7)


Whilst answering yes to all these questions does pick up on some of the key aspects of an OHS management system, it does not assure total compliance to AS/NZS 4801.


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