Developing a concept for external audits of psychosocial risks in certified occupational health and safety management systems

Anne Helbo, Peter Hasle

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Psychosocial risks are closely related to work organization, management and organizational context.Therefore, the nature of psychosocial risks is complex and differs from more traditional OHS risks. TheOHSAS 18001 standard explicitly claims to deal with all OHS risks, including psychosocial risks, andthe audit is a key element in OHS management systems. However, the literature indicates that auditsof psychosocial risk management are difficult and multifaceted, and the available practice excludes psychosocialrisks from audits. Based on an analysis of the literature and available methodologicalapproaches, we propose a new conceptual model for audits of psychosocial risk management. The modelis grounded in the British ‘‘Guidance on the management of psychosocial risks in the workplace” (BSI,2011), which has recently been developed to remedy the shortcomings of the OHSAS standard. The modelbuilds on an interpretation of audit evidence that includes an integration of general scientific knowledgeregarding psychosocial risks with local contextual knowledge. A key tool for the application of the integrationis realistic evaluation, which provides the opportunity to assess the link between psychosocialrisk management measures and expected outcomes. Another important tool is the qualitative interview,which is the primary method for data collection. The concept has important implications for the dominantaudit practice and auditor competencies. It leads to an expanded knowledge base and a broader conceptof audit evidence that further presupposes considerable auditor resources, and changes the requiredknowledge base and skills of auditors.
TidsskriftSafety Science
Udgave nummerB
Sider (fra-til)227-234
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 2017
Udgivet eksterntJa