How often should an organisation conduct a statutory compliance audit?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised recently by the rare foresightedness of a client organisation.

Having received a prohibition notice and a stern letter from the HSE many companies would have responded by doing what needed to be done to dispense with the enforcement notice and little else; breathing a sigh of relief that they’d gotten away without worse. This company however has decided to go back to first principles and adopt an altogether more holistic approach.

And it’s not as though they’ve got deep pockets either – they can’t afford a full-time safety adviser. The strategy is to use a specialist on a part-time basis – a very part-time basis – to complement their own resources.

The first step is to conduct a compliance audit to determine their present status i.e. which regulations apply to them and what are their priorities? What are the things they really need to get a grip of to sleep at night? We’ll be doing that over the next couple of weeks and from it will follow questions about policy and training requirements etc. and all of the other good stuff including routine auditing.

So, back to the question. Is a statutory compliance audit a one-off, complemented then with routine audits of compliance against policy? Or is it something an organisation should do regularly?

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