Health and Safety Risk Assessment in South Africa

Introduction

Employers in South Africa are bound by the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 (OHSA) and other relevant regulations to ensure that they provide a safe and healthy work environment that is free of hazards.

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Why is it necessary for frequent health and safety risk assessments to be carried out?

It is crucial for employers to carry out health and safety risk assessments in South Africa to ensure that they comply with the law, and also because it is the morally and ethically responsible thing to do in ensuring health and safety of employees.

Any South African employer, employing a medium to large-sized workforce, despite the sector of the economy in which the organisation falls, must carry out a risk assessment, not only to the benefit of the employees but also to benefit the organisation as an adequate health and safety management system can ensure the success of a company.

Each work environment contains some hazards and risks to the employees who work there, and these could adversely affect their health, safety, and wellbeing. While it is not always possible to eliminate all the levels of hazards and risks in the workplace, the employer is responsible to take all the necessary precautions to eliminate as much of it as practicably possible.

Risk Assessment

What function does a Health and Safety Risk Assessment perform?

Health and safety risk assessments must be done to ensure that employees are not in danger when they work in each work environment. Firstly, the assessment identifies all the safety hazards and risks that employees face while they are working.

These may range from anything such as tools that are used to machinery that is utilised in daily operations. It also involves evaluating chemicals that are used in operations, amongst several other things.

Secondly, another aspect of the risk assessment is the health hazards that employees may face within the working environment. These aspects are associated to the health of employees and the assessment thereof is used to ensure that the workspace is conducive to the health and wellbeing of employees.

Here, the assessment will evaluate the safety policies of the organisation; whether an emergency plan is developed, whether employees are trained in first aid, and so on. It may also be extended to evaluate the risks that visitors, customers, and the public may face as well.

Some of the health and safety regulations that employers must comply with in carrying out risk assessments include, but are not limited to:

An in-depth look at workplace exposure risk assessments

As previously discussed, employers have a legal duty, according to several laws and regulations, to provide a work environment that is healthy, safe, and free of hazards and risks that may threaten the health and safety of employees, customers, and visitors to the premises, and the public.

When conducting a workplace exposure risk assessment, it is imperative to consider the following factors below.

Hazard Identification

Hazard identification

Which involves an inspection of day-to-day operations as well as processes to identify conditions, objects, activities, and/or events that may pose a threat to the health, safety, and wellbeing of personnel or which may cause damage to materials, equipment, and structures.

Identification of risk groups

One hazard may be categorised in more than one risk group which may lead to the segregation of risks groups, improving the value of the risk assessment and providing an improved focus for control activities.

Evaluation of risk levels involves prioritising hazards in terms of risk to determine what must be controlled first.

Documentation

Which involves the necessary and relevant documentary evidence to prove hazard identifications, identification of risk groups, and the evaluation of risk levels.

Periodic review of risk assessments

This is done to ensure that hazards have not changed within their risk group or level and that there are no new hazards that have been introduced. Risk assessments, as well as their control measures, must be reviewed frequently to ensure coverage, efficiency and effectiveness.

Application of different models

Which involves the application of a workplace exposure risk assessment model relevant to the organisation. This can include data-driven quantitative as well as qualitative processes, some of which include observations, discussions, interviews, and several others.

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.

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.
The MAKROSAFE Health and Safety Risk Control Package will assist you with your Risk Management Programme.
By signing up with our Health and Safety Risk Control Package, MAKROSAFE will assist you with your Risk Management journey.
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Posted date: 12th Apr 2022
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