How often should a Health and Safety(HSE) Risk Assessment be reviewed?
Business owners, employers, managers, or supervisors must know the importance associated with keeping things up to date so that they run smoothly, and health and safety is not an exception to this. To make sure that employees stay safe, and that the employer remains compliant, risk assessments must be carried out and reviewed as part of regular work practice.
Apart from these assessments being done, employers may have some concerns regarding how often a health and safety (HSE) risk assessment must be reviewed. They are not something that can be done once, and never again, however, there is no official guideline set as to when and how often a risk assessment must be done, and how often they must be reviewed.
This article will provide employers with some guidance on the matter so that they can ensure compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993.
Why should the risk assessment be reviewed?
It is good practice to ensure that everything is running smoothly, and a risk assessment must be a routine part of working practice. It is crucial to remember that risk assessments must be carried out on certain occasions and specific situations.
Being proactive as well as responsive to change can prevent avoidable harm. There are various reasons to review the risk assessment, including the following sections discussed below.
Scheduled Annual Review
It is not always easy to know when the right time would be to carry out a risk assessment and organisations typically update everything on a time schedule. When organisations or the employer are audited, they will expect records that are updated, and the rule of thumb is that a risk assessment must be scheduled annually.
By ensuring this, employers can know when it will be done, when it was carried out, and when it will be updated.
Changes in legislation
It is crucial to ensure compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993 and all other relevant regulations and legislation, this means that employers must respond to any changes that occur in regulation.
New regulations can be introduced with the new tax year, or any other set date, and it may reflect new research as well as technology, changes in certain work practices, and even the global political situation.
Employers, or their safety personnel on their behalf, must ensure that they remain up to date with changes in legislation.
Changes in the task
The workplace is dynamic and evolves consistently, and employers must ensure that they are aware of how changes to the workplace, equipment, and working practices affect the health and safety of the people that work in the organisation.
New risk assessments must be conducted when there are new machines, substances, and/or procedures, which may potentially lead to the creation of new hazards. This includes carrying out risk assessments for installations, and the use of frequent safety controls for equipment, machinery, and tasks.
Improvements in health and safety controls work to reduce, minimise, and even eliminate some risks. It is therefore imperative to conduct risk assessments to follow-up and to review any improvements that have been introduced since the last risk assessment.
This review will typically be specific to a particular control to ensure its effectiveness and relevance.
Accidents and near misses
Despite the controls in place, accidents and near misses may still happen, and if employers find themselves in this situation, it is imperative to ensure that the necessary time is taken to stop an event from taking place.
There is a specific procedure to follow when investigations are conducted, and it involves reviewing the risk assessments to check whether the most updated controls are in place to prevent recurrence.
Reports and complaints
It is impossible for a workplace or organisation to be perfect, and this means that risk assessments are not perfect either. Often, hazards or risks can be overlooked during a risk assessment that could be noticed and brought to the employer’s attention by someone else. When this happens, employers can respond to this by conducting a new risk assessment.
It is imperative for the lines of communication to be kept open and to encourage people to offer feedback and to report on any issues that may affect the health and safety in the workplace.
Health and safety also involves physical as well as psychosocial wellbeing, and there are several hazards which can affect people’s work attendance, attitude, and behaviour at work. High staff turnover, sickness, absenteeism, and numerous other factors can be indicators that there is something affecting the health and safety of employees.
When employers notice something like this, it is crucial that the risk factor be identified and dealt with accordingly to prevent harm.
Individual staff members
Employers have a level of compassion and they realise that there are individuals who need special consideration from time to time such as pregnant or breastfeeding employees, or those who return to work after suffering long-term illness, or when visitors enter the premises.
It is crucial for a risk assessment to be carried out to prevent these individuals from either creating new hazards, or risk being exposed to any hazards in the workplace.
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.
For more information, click here.
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