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                        4 min read

                        What is an FSC audit?

                        people in hi-vis standing in front of a construction site with the FSC logo on the right hand side

                        FSC audits are a crucial component of the construction industry, serving as an essential step for companies aiming to attain or maintain accreditation under the WHS Accreditation Scheme.

                        These rigorous audits, which are carried out by the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC), are part of the Australian Government's ongoing efforts to promote and enforce high safety standards, and reduce injuries and fatalities, in the building and construction sector. As the primary agency responsible for the WHS Accreditation Scheme, the OFSC develops, implements, administers and promotes effective safety practices on construction sites nationwide. Through the implementation of comprehensive safety management systems, the scheme is designed to ensure that all construction work carried out in Australia is performed to the highest possible standards of safety, protecting both workers and the general public.

                        Plant Assessor’s client base includes a large number of FSC accredited companies that have found our platform to be a great way to meet stringent machinery safety requirements of FSC accreditation. So, find out everything you need to know about FSC audits in this article.

                         

                        How can a company apply for accreditation?

                        The OFSC has outlined a number of steps for applying for accreditation under the scheme:

                        • Read the information about the scheme on the OFSC website.

                        • Verify the company’s WHS management systems aligns with the FSC audit criteria by gathering a variety of evidence such as a risk matrix, training records and risk assessments.

                        • Address any gaps that may be present in the WHS management system.

                        • Create an account on the OFSC website and complete the application form.

                        Once the application is received, it will be processed by the OFSC before a contractor is engaged as a Federal Safety Officer (FSO). The FSO will review the application and decide on the company’s eligibility for accreditation. They will then conduct an initial audit to determine whether it can be accredited, before conducting periodic assessments, which will confirm whether the company remains compliant with the various systems and processes required by an accredited company.

                         

                        Are there requirements for being accredited?

                        In order to be eligible for accreditation, the FSO will ensure you meet criteria that proves a good safety record at your company and sound safety systems are in place. The criteria is as follows:

                        • Demonstrated ability to manage construction hazards and high-risk activities.

                        • Positive record in relation to workplace safety.

                        • Achieve consistently good on-site audit results with a particular focus on the following:

                          • demonstrated senior management commitment to WHS;

                          • integration of safe design principles into the risk management process;

                          • whole of project WHS consultation and communication;

                          • demonstrated effective subcontractor WHS management arrangements across building and construction projects;

                          • whole of project performance measurement; and

                          • WHS training and competency to deal with safety risks.

                         

                        What are the benefits of being accredited by the FSC?

                        There are numerous benefits that companies will enjoy as a result of being FSC accredited. The most valuable of these is, of course, improved WHS performance. The strong safety standards and systems that are required for FSC accredited companies will likely result in fewer injuries to workers and contractors and fewer workplace compensation claims as a result. This is also likely to reduce Workers’ Compensation costs of the accredited party. Additionally, once a building company becomes accredited by the FSC, it will become eligible to be awarded tenders for Federal Government funded projects. This will open up more work opportunities for the business and could result in greater financial windfalls.

                         

                        What will happen during the FSC audit?

                        A Federal Safety Officer (FSO) will arrive at the site to conduct the audit on a previously agreed date.  The FSO will take a look around the site, inspecting the safety measures and systems that are already in place and whether there are any non-conformances present. The audit covers criteria in three areas:

                        • WHS management systems criteria

                        • Focus point criteria

                        • Hazard criteria

                        Further information on these criteria can be found on the OFSC website

                        The audit could take one to two days depending on whether the company is being accredited for the first time or being reaccredited. The FSO will use this criteria to determine if anything on site is non-conformant. The auditor can then inform the PCBU of the non-conformance and request corrective actions be implemented. Non-conformances will be one of two types; major or minor. A major non-conformance is where a process has not been implemented or documented to reduce safety risks to workers, while a minor non-conformance is where processes have only been partially documented or implemented.

                         

                        What happens after the FSC audit?

                        Once the audit has been completed by the FSO, the PCBU will either be reaccredited under the scheme or will be required to implement the corrective actions identified. This usually involves the creation of an action plan which outlines improvements to be made and who is responsible for the corrections. These corrective actions should be implemented and an action plan submitted to the OFSC within 30 days of the audit report being received by the PCBU. The OFSC will then review the action plan to ensure it is adequate and will schedule a follow-up audit to check whether corrective actions have been implemented on site.

                         

                        Are there costs associated with becoming FSC accredited?

                        There are no charges involved in becoming accredited. The application and audit process are free and there are no ongoing fees following accreditation.

                         

                        Plant Assessor can help

                        Plant Assessor is a leading software platform that can assist individuals and companies in ensuring machinery safety and compliance, and is perfect for meeting the rigorous requirements of FSC accreditation. 

                        The unique Machinery Compliance Engine built into Plant Assessor’s software allows you to know your machinery is being assessed against all relevant Australian legislation, standards and regulations, and meets your safety and compliance obligations at all times. 

                        Plant Assessor has been subject to many FSC audits since the establishment of the scheme. Indeed, we have developed numerous features and functions into Plant Assessor to accommodate the requirements of both FSC and self insurance requirements. This has resulted in Plant Assessor being widely accepted by FSOs in meeting the stringent machinery safety requirements of FSC accreditation.  

                        Plant Assessor is the foundation of any great machinery safety system, helping you put the right foot forward when it comes time for your FSC audit. If you would like more information about how Plant Assessor can help you, please contact our friendly team on 1300 728 852 or email info@assessor.com.au.

                         

                        Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information.