Skip to main content

Element 12 Audit and survey


To measure and evaluate the success of the USQ safety management system, regular audits and surveys are conducted according to the audit schedule. Both audits and surveys provide managers with critical feedback that is used to review procedures and make changes for continual improvement.

What is an audit?

An audit is a methodical, planned review of operational functions. During an audit, every part of the working system is examined to identify strengths, weaknesses and areas of risk.

A safety audit compares stated objectives and operating procedures with actual work practices. At USQ an audit tool is provided for each element of the safety management system and can be used at all levels of the organisation.

Who conducts an audit?

Audits of the USQ safety management system are conducted annually by the safety and wellbeing staff using the full version of the Project Zero Audit Tool. This is an in-depth audit conducted by trained personnel and meets and exceeds the requirements of the relative legislation.

Audits of faculties, schools, divisions and sections are conducted by members of the Workplace Health and Safety Committees from the relative workplaces or by Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs). These audits are conducted using the short audit tool and can be done with a minimum of training.

When should audits be conducted?

Audits should be conducted according to the audit schedule which specifies at least annually. They should also be conducted following major changes to the work environment or when new operating procedures are introduced.

Areas that are setting up an audit schedule for the first time should conduct and initial audit to benchmark the system and a follow-up within three months to measure improvement.

Audit Tools

Project Zero utilises two audit tools which have been designed to be used by USQ staff with minimal training. 

Executive Safety Checklist

The aim of the Executive Safety Checklist is to allow executives, managers and supervisors to quickly assess their Workplace Health and Safety status to determine if urgent or immediate action is required to reduce risk or mitigate liability. It is not a replacement for an audit but serves as a quick reference tool.

Audit reporting

Copies of all audits are to be forwarded to the safety and wellbeing team for central filing. The audits can also be loaded onto UniHIRTS to facilitate tracking of the recommendations and action items.


Whereas audits are used to measure against a standard, surveys are subjective assessments of safety culture and the way the safety management system has been implements and its acceptance in the workplace.

Surveys are conducted annually by the safety and wellbeing team and  may include written questionnaires, interviews and observations. Surveys may also be conducted as part of an audit.