Health and Safety Baseline Risk Assessment

Introduction to Baseline Risk Assessment

The purpose involved in conducting a baseline risk assessment or HIRA is to establish an appropriate risk profile or a set of profiles. It is used to prioritise an action program for the issue-based risk assessments.

The health and safety baseline risk assessment is therefore conducted to establish a benchmark of the type as well as the size of potential hazards in the workplace, which may have an impact on the entire organisation.

Baseline Risk Assessment Explained

A baseline risk assessment evaluates aspects such as noise, ventilation, temperature extremes, illumination, and other factors. It can also include an environmental impact study or an aspect register, with both processes centered at the heart of any ISO 14001 EMS.

The organisational level at which the outcome is expected can also determine whether a risk assessment is done per site, or on a holding level.

A thorough workplace risk assessment must provide a set of risk profiles, as mentioned, in addition to a clear description of the methodology, system, and terminology, amidst other components, which are used during the scoping exercise.

The risk assessment must also include anything that may be required to improve risk assessments in the future. When a baseline risk assessment is established, it requires the input of a variety of professionals, each expected to add value according to their expertise or their location.

However, it only works if every person involved provides input separately, with consideration given to attending the process in either a single workshop or multiple workshops.

All these considerations make the risk assessment crucial, however, it is not the final step to ensure health and safety in the workplace, it is only the beginning. The outcome of the baseline risk assessment must be used when additional, more in-depth risk assessments are carried out, such as Issue-Based Risk Assessments, which typically follow the baseline.

If you have any questions, please feel free to speak to one of our Experts

Purpose and Considerations when carrying out a baseline HIRA

The aim of the risk assessment must be to identify the major and significant risks before they are subsequently prioritised accordingly. Depending on the outcome, the effectiveness of systems that are currently in place for risk control must be evaluated to identify whether they meet the requirements and standards.

Part of the HIRA risk assessment methodology is considering who may be at risk, by what, where, when, and why. This must be approached from a PEPMELF point of view: 

  • People
  • Equipment
  • Process
  • Procedures/Practices
  • Materials
  • Environment
  • Legal and Liability
  • Finances


During this, those who may be at risk must be identified, this will include groups of people consisting not only of employees but also visitors, suppliers, contractors, subcontractors, and anyone else who may visit the premises regardless of the reason.


This involves all equipment on the premises that could potentially be the cause of danger towards employees and any other persons who may enter the workplace.


This involves the workflow of activities and operations. Considerations must be given towards whether processes are efficient as they are, whether there are improvements that can be made, or whether processes can be simplified to streamline them and to simultaneously increase safety.


This considers whether employees are aware of what is expected of them when they carry out specific tasks. Do employees carry out the task as described in the procedure, or are they displaying risky behavior or taking shortcuts.

It also includes whether employees know what to do when an emergency occurs.


This involves evaluating material that may cause an incident or increase the possibility of an incident.


This consideration is associated with the impact on the environment, whether spills could have a devastating impact on the environment, whether tall grass or trees contribute to the spread of a fire, and so on.

This will require an in-depth examination of the impact that activities have on the immediate environment and the factors in the environment itself that may contribute or lead to incidents and accidents.


Legal and Liability

This is associated with existing legislation and whether it dictates specific preventative measures and whether the legislation can be expected to be ratified, and what the consequences will be if the organisation and employer are non-compliant.


This involves the costs of certain measures, whether there are alternatives or whether additional steps can be considered that would prevent having to spend money.

How does SafetyWallet support its subscribers?

SafetyWallet, in partnership with MAKROSAFE and OHS Online, ensures that subscribers can obtain the highest level of compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, all other Regulations, and more.

Through the assistance and support in the health and safety program of the subscriber, SafetyWallet helps subscribers with the health and safety risk assessments that must be conducted to ensure that subscribers are compliant in providing a healthy and safe working environment.

Click on the image below to find a SafetyWallet Solution that suits your business (branch / site specific) and get the 21 benefits along with the subscription:

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Keeping your workplace legally Health and Safety Compliant may seem like a daunting task. At MAKROSAFE, we have an experienced team of OHS experts available to assist in keeping your company Health and Safety Compliant according to South African Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 and Regulations.
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Posted date: 29th Apr 2022
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