How Health and Safety Risk Assessments are monitored and reviewed
Once a risk assessment has been carried out and a health and safety policy for the organisation has been created, the next step involves how health and safety risk assessments are monitored and reviewed.
In ensuring this, employers can ensure that they remain compliant with the Occupational health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993 in ensuring that the workplace they provide is healthy, safe, and free of harm to the health, safety, and wellbeing of employees and visitors to the premises.
The first step involves conducting a risk assessment in which the hazards are identified, the risks along with their likelihood and severity are evaluated, control measures are implemented where risks cannot be eliminated, the findings are recorded and communicated, and finally, that the risk assessment is reviewed and updated if necessary.
This ensures that, if there is something significant that has changed since the last risk assessment, the risk assessment is still valid and if it is not, that additional or new control measures can be implemented to ensure a continuously healthy and safe working environment.
Employers may still be uncertain over how and when to monitor and review their risk assessments, and the sections below will provide some insight into this matter.
When must risk assessments be reviewed?
When there are new recruits
When employees have been recruited following the risk assessment, they will not be familiar with the processes, procedures, and the environment, which will change the level of risk that was originally assessed, even if the employees have gone through training.
When there is new equipment, or a new work environment introduced
Existing equipment and machinery will be replaced over time and new machinery and equipment will be introduced and changes such as these may be adequate reason for the risk assessment to be reviewed.
When an accident or an incident occurs
If an accident or a health and safety related incident occurs, it is a sign that the risk controls in place have somehow fallen short and it signals the cue for a careful analysis. This analysis must explore what went wrong, why, and how it can be prevented from occurring again.
When near misses occur, it is necessary to explore whether a minor incident could have been more severe and how it can be prevented that it happens again.
It is more likely that people who are in the workplace will notice a potential health and safety problem or an increase in risk levels. In consulting with employees, employers are likely to hear about health and safety risks that may be overlooked during the initial risk assessment.
If there are issues that appear after the risk assessment was carried out, the risk assessment must be reviewed to ensure that these hazards and their associated risks are controlled and effectively managed.
Regulations and law change all the time
Minor additions and even rewording of the health and safety laws and regulations could mean that employers need to reassess risks and change the health and safety policy. Such changes are anything but infrequent and it is crucial for the employer to keep updated with such changes, or ensure they have health and safety personnel who can do it on their behalf.
Review regularly even if nothing has changed or gone wrong
Most organisations run a cycle of annual reviews on several components such as salaries, staff performance, and various others. It should become best practice to review all health and safety documentation, including the risk assessment frequently to ensure that everything is up to date and relevant.
This ensures that the employer is compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and that employees can rest assured that the employer prioritises their health, safety, and wellbeing.
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 programme 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.
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