A Health and Safety Risk Assessment Should Include 5 Steps
5 Very Important Risk Assessment Steps
The simplest definition of a Definition is that it is a careful examination of what, in the workplace, could cause harm to people, so that employers can weigh up whether they have taken enough precautions, or whether more should be done to prevent harm.
It forms a crucial part for OHS management and the main objective that it has is to determine the measures needed to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, and all other regulations and legislation, to reduce the level of incidents and/or accidents.
Why must an Assessment be carried out?
An Assessment must be carried out because it can help the employer comply with their legal duty and it helps them protect their employees and their business.
There may be confusion as to when an assessment must be conducted, and employers may complicate the entire risk assessment procedure by thinking that it is a complex and difficult procedure. It can be conducted at any time, and it should be conducted before employees conduct a task, start work for the day, or do work that presents a significant chance of injury or ill health.
Employers are legally allowed to appoint a competent person to conduct it on their behalf. However, the competent person must possess the right qualification to do so in addition to the necessary skills, training, knowledge, and experience, for instance, an OHS Manager or officer.
How is a risk assessment carried out?
There are no fixed rules on how it must be carried out, and the process may differ from one industry and business, to the next. However, there are a few general steps or principles that can provide guidance.
An OHS risk assessment should include 5 steps, namely:
- Step 1 – Identify the hazards in the workplace.
- Step 2 – Identify who may be harmed and how.
- Step 3 – Evaluate the risks and determine the risk control measures.
- Step 4 – Record the findings and implement them.
- Step 5 – Review the risk assessment and update it if necessary.
Identify workplace hazards
To identify health and safety hazards, it is crucial to understand the difference between a hazard and a risk. A hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm whereas a risk has the likelihood of the hazard causing harm.
Hazards can be identified by using a variety of techniques, with the most common one being a walkthrough which is conducted in the workplace.
Determine who may be harmed, and how
Once the hazards have been identified, it is crucial to determine the people, or groups of people who may be affected and how they could potentially be harmed. It is also necessary to identify vulnerable groups such as young and new workers, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and others.
Evaluate the risks and decide on the control measures
After the hazards have been identified and the people who may be affected have been identified, and how, the next step involves protecting these people from harm. The hazards can either be removed completely, or the risks can be controlled so that injury, accidents, or incidents, are unlikely.
Findings must be written down and recorded to serve as proof that employers have done what is necessary to ensure that employees work in a healthy and safe environment. It also indicates how the employer plans to eliminate, control, minimise, and reduce hazards.
Assessment review, update if necessary
It is important to consider that conditions in the workplace will change and as a result, the assessment must be reviewed and updated when required. This is to ensure that all hazards are identified and that new ones are not introduced. Where needed, the actions may have to be updated, or additional measures implemented.
How does SafetyWallet support its subscribers?
Through the assistance and support in the OHS program of the subscriber, SafetyWallet helps subscribers with the OHS risk assessments that must be conducted to ensure that subscribers are compliant with providing a healthy and safe working environment.
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