Health and Safety Record Keeping

Health and Safety Record Keeping

Health and Safety Record Keeping Systems and practices in the workplace

Health and Safety Record Management Systems and practices should comply with the adequate records management framework, specifically the adequate records management standard, the document and records management system standard and will be audited to identify evidence supporting this compliance. Evidence consists of the following assertions:

record management system

Official records are created in all appropriate circumstance

Official records are captured into corporate record keeping systems upon creation or receipt official records are disposed.

Access to official records takes place in a managed manner using prescribed policies and procedures.

Official records can be found upon demand.

Records management shall be managed and planned in a strategic and corporate manner.

All staff shall receive training on record management as outlined in the organisation’s record management training plan. 

Organisations shall implement reporting mechanisms and progress in order to keep senior management informed about record management. 

The organisation shall develop and implement record management policies and practices. 

The employer will ensure compliance audits take place on a regular basis within agreed intervals of time, and the results of the audits and reviews will be documented and forwarded to the Department of Employment and Labour if requested.

The employer will afford the inspector full cooperation throughout this process.  

Employers are responsible for ensuring that sufficient evidence is immediately available for the inspector to complete the review. Failure to provide such evidence will require the Department of Labour to undertake the necessary analysis of the employer’s record keeping systems and practices at the organisation’s cost.

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The Audit Plan

Audit objective

The audit objective is to obtain a report of factual findings concerning the adequacy of record management practices in the organisation. The inspector is to report appropriately to the Department of Employment and Labour of non-compliance with controls or insufficient evidence of records for specific outcomes.

the audit checklist for compliance


The audit checklist will provide measures against which the record management operations will be tested. The audit checklist consists of the ten outcomes from the Adequacy Standard.


The consolidated Audit Report will include the following elements:

  •         Organisation ’s name
  •         Chief Executive Officer responsible
  •         Level of cooperation afforded
  •         Quality of evidence provided
  •         Auditor’s validation of scores
  •         Reasons for variance between scores
  •         Project improvements for the next 12-month period


Evidence will be provided in some cases by a sample test of data and in other cases by 100% testing. The creation of official records, for example, will generally be sample tested, to give sufficient indication to form an opinion that this requirement is generally satisfied. In another example, assessing whether security measures are in place will usually require complete testing. Business requirements will include some sample testing, and some complete testing.

Annual Health and Safety Audit

An Annual Health and Safety Audit is recommended for all businesses/organisations. The employer must have arrangements for monitoring and review of his health and safety measures.


The objectives of this form are:

  •         Review of Health and Safety system, identification of areas of low/non compliance.
  •         Identification of employee training needs to create a safer working environment.
  •         Assessment of key hazards within the workplace, which will require a Risk Assessment.
  •         Effectiveness of existing audits and management controls.
  •         Recommendation for improvement actions for senior management team.

The Health and Safety Annual Audit is divided into the following sections:

  1. General Policy and Organisation
  2. Arrangements to be considered
  3. Plant and Substances
  4. Other Hazards
  5. Emergencies
  6. Communication
  7. Training
  8. Supervision
  9. Keeping Checks
  10. Consideration of General Risks Identified during Risk Assessment
  11. General Observations
  12. Fire Precautions and Observations

This Annual Health and Safety Audit should be supplemented as appropriate by the Assessment Checklists available for specific hazardous issues. If individual hazards are identified these should be recorded and assessed on a Hazard Risk Assessment form.

All actions that are required as a result of the Audit should be recorded and monitored on the Annual Health and Safety Audit Action Plan. This should be done at least on an annual basis.

Single Hazard Risk Assessment Form

A Single Hazard Risk Assessment form should be used to evaluate, recommend actions required and record responsibility in respect of hazards and risks identified by Risk Assessment Checklists, Audits and Questionnaires, or those identified by occurrences in the workplace. These Single Hazard Risk Assessment forms (and the checklists) should then be managed and monitored by the relevant Risk Assessment Action Plan. This can be done at least on a quarterly basis or when need arises.

The Hazard Risk Assessment Form

This form contains the following sections: -

  •         Description/Identification of the hazard/risk
  •         Consequences - description of the harm that might be caused by the hazard/risk
  •         Identification of the persons at risk, and the level of risk
  •         Consideration of precautions and controls
  •         Record of the form's inclusion in the relevant Risk Assessment Action Plan

Small, office-based businesses may not require risk assessment documentation involving a range of checklists and action plans for specific undertakings, jobs, locations and equipment. It may be more appropriate for such operations to use either the Multiple Hazard Risk Assessment and Action Plan form or the Single Hazard Risk Assessment and Action Plan form.

These forms individually cover the "5 Steps" for risk assessment - identify hazard, persons at risk, level of risk, records and review. For businesses where there are substantial hazards or potential hazards, and the risk(s) could be severe and extensive it is recommended that the risk assessment process be recorded and monitored by using the relevant Checklist(s), Single Hazard Risk Assessment Forms and Risk Assessment Action Plans. The Checklists act as the starting point of this process.

Alternatively, and where judged appropriate, the Single Risk Assessment and Action Plan or the Multiple Risk Assessment and Action Plan may be utilised.

This form is a standard format Risk Assessment Checklist to enable the employer to record details of precautions, controls, training, instructions, the provision of information, systems and procedures, and identify related hazards, potential hazards and risks.

The Risk Assessment Action Plan Standard Form should be used to record and monitor the actions to be taken in respect of hazards and risks identified by the completion of the relevant Checklist(s) and Single Risk Assessment Forms. It provides for recording and reviewing the following:

  •         General information and Duty Holder responsibility
  •         Reference numbers in respect of Checklist(s) and Risk Assessment forms
  •         Descriptions of action(s) to be taken
  •         Responsibility for the action(s)
  •         Target Dates
  •         Completion Dates
  •         Verification of completion
  •         Review timetable

In respect of businesses (or undertakings within businesses) with limited hazards and potential hazards, and the risks are unlikely to be severe or extensive it may be more appropriate to apply the Single Hazard Risk Assessment and Action Plan or the Multiple Hazard Risk Assessment and Action Plan. This is part of the process and must be done at least on a quarterly basis and if need arises to investigate unsafe practises.

Accident Record Form

A Report of Accident Form should be available to all employees so that an injured employee, or someone acting on their behalf, can complete the form as soon as possible after the accident. The Accident Record form should then be passed to the Duty Holder for secure safekeeping and monitoring. The record provides for:

  •         Record Number
  •         Details of injured party
  •         Details of reporting party
  •         Accident details
  •         Signature of reporting party
  •         Internal Accident Investigation Report.

Framework and Safety Risk Assessment Form and Policies

  •         The framework is described below:
  •         Health and Safety Policy Statements: General statement and policy examples, including contractors.
  •         Standard Health and Safety and Risk Assessment Forms:  Annual audit, risk assessment forms & plans.
  •         Environmental forms: Policy, assessment checklist & action plan and waste disposal note. 
  •         First Aid, Accidents and Disease. Accident, investigation, treatment and report forms. 
  •         Fire Safety. Risk Assessment forms, policy and procedures and records. 
  •         Smoke free, drugs and alcohol-free policy. Up-to-date policies governing smoking, drugs and alcohol.
  •         Safe driving. Safe Driving Policy, Guidance for Employees who drive for work and vehicle checklist.  
  •         Display screen equipment. Questionnaire, identification & eyesight records and risk assessment. 
  •         Chemical and hazardous substances. Safety data, risk assessment and action plan forms. 
  •         Personal Protective Equipment. Risk survey and acknowledgement of use. 
  •         Manual handling. Assessment checklist & control forms, employee assessments and action plan. 
  •         Equipment and Machinery. Maintenance records, and risk assessment forms. 
  •         Hot work. Risk assessment, action plan and permit forms. 
  •         Asbestos containing materials. Inspection, assessment action plan, register, controls and disposal forms.

Policies must be in place for record management. Let’s discuss this.

Records management policies and legislation

According to the National archives and record service of South Africa Act no 43, 1996, the purpose of this Act is to provide for a National Archives and Record Service; the proper management and care of the records of governmental bodies; and the preservation and use of a national archival heritage; and to provide for matters connected therewith. It is therefore important for private and public companies to establish their own records management policies.

The objects and functions of the National Archives are to:

Preserve public and non-public records with enduring value for use by the public and the State

Make such records accessible and promote their use by the public

Ensure the proper management and care of all public records

Collect non-public records with enduring value of national significance which cannot be more appropriately preserved by another institution, with due regard to the need to document aspects of the nation’s experience neglected by archives repositories in the past

Maintain a national automated archival information retrieval system, in which all provincial archives services shall participate

Maintain national registers of non-public records with enduring value, and promote co-operation and co-ordination between institutions having custody of such records

Assist, support, set standards for and provide professional guidelines to provincial archives services

Promote an awareness of archives and records management, and encourage archival and records management activities

Generally, promote the preservation and use of a national archival heritage

Below are some guidelines on good record keeping and storage practises.

Retrieval of records

Control of records placed in archives and the archives annex remains with the office of origin. Retrieval of records from the archives and the archives annex is coordinated by the individual offices and the archives.

Destruction of records

This policy is applicable for all records not of enduring value. No record will be destroyed without the written permission of the office involved.

Confidential records must be shredded, burned or otherwise physically destroyed as to leave their content unreconstructed. Determination of what constitutes confidential records is the responsibility of the division.

At least once a year, each office will review its records retention and disposition schedules and determine which records have become obsolete.

It is the responsibility of the individual office to destroy its obsolete records.

The office is responsible for destruction whether the records are stored in archives or remain on site. For records destroyed on site, a departmental representative will make a destruction report for the records officer.

The destruction report will include the following:

  •         Record Series destroyed
  •         Inclusive dates of series
  •         Number of cubic feet of records destroyed
  •         Method of destruction
  •         Departmental Representative

Posted date: 17th Oct 2018
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