Occupational health and safety management audit instruments: a literature review

Reasons for the study

The use of occupational health and safety (OHS) audits has grown in recent years. Auditing is now seen as an effective method for ensuring compliance and improving the performance of prevention systems. IWH carried out a narrative literature review in order to determine what is known about the reliability and validity of these audit instruments. Besides reviewing literature in OHS, the team looked at findings from the process safety field as well.


The literature review, finished in 2005, found little published research information on the measurement properties of OHS management audits. The findings from this narrative review raise questions about the OHS management system-based audit instruments that are in common use. It appears that a good deal of effort goes into developing the content for many of the audit tools reviewed. Unfortunately, a lot of this effort was ill documented.

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Project status

Completed 2006

Research team

  • Philip Bigelow, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Lynda Robson, Institute for Work & Health (PI)

Funded by

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario