SafetyWallets 15 Elements to OHS Compliance
Occupational Health and Safety Compliance, otherwise referred to as OHS Compliance, refers to one standard in meeting all the required legal requirements which are stipulated as according to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), Act 85 of 1993 and thus qualifying for Health and Safety certification.
In ensuring OHS compliance, employers’ risks associated with legal liability is minimised and protected.
OHS compliance also minimises the risk of any incidents or any legal liability that the employer may incur from time to time with contractors, suppliers and/or visitors that may be on the employer’s premises to perform work of whatever nature.
It is important that employers remember that OHS compliance is a legal requirement, and failure to meet the standards set out in OHS Act, is punishable by law. It may also result in the loss of productivity along with lawsuit court cases, and the loss of lives.
SafetyWallet’s 15 Elements, in addition, also helps to cultivate a workplace where health and safety behaviour is positively influenced on a consistent and continuous basis, hereby benefitting both the employer, employees, and all other affected parties.
SafetyWallet Health and Safety Compliance Audit process
Although health and safety compliance can be determined through several ways, the most common is through a Health and Safety Compliance audit which is conducted on a workplace.
This involves the assessment of the workplace along with the identification, control, elimination, or minimizing of any nom-compliances which are identified.
As mentioned above, for an employer’s Health and Safety programme to be effective, suitable control measures must be identified and implemented. These control measures must also be reviewed frequently to ensure that they are effective.
To understand how the SafetyWallet Health and Safety Compliance Audit works, it is imperative to understand the “Parent-Child” concept. This indicates a relationship which is structured into a tree, linking back to an over-riding question which relates to the OHS Act Section 8(1), whether the employer both provides and maintains a working environment which is healthy as well as safe for all persons who either work there, or visit the area.
Every question in the OHS compliance audit will either be a child or grandchild to this question. Should there be a question that is answered “No”, the main question will therefore also be “No”, thus meaning that the work environment is not completely healthy or safe.
The question will therefore never be answered directly or manually but will be answered by the “children or grandchild” below it.
Another question which can be used as an example is OHS Act section 8(2), which asks whether the employer ensures that suitable systems of work are in place, thus ensuring a healthy and safe working environment which is provided and maintained for all employees working there.
This question is the direct child of the overall question. It allows for the audit to open into various sections which covers both health and safety in their entirety.
The idea of this is that “suitable systems of work”, the Health and Safety Programme, pertains to the various checks and controls used to efficiently maintain health and safety in the workplace.
- Risk Assessment - RAS
- Contractor and Supplier Management - CRTR
- Organisation and Structure - ORG
- General Requirements and Communication - ADM
- Emergency Preparedness - EPR
- Buildings and Infrastructure - BUI
- Machinery and Equipment - MAC
- Chemicals and Biologicals - CHE
- Health and Safety Training - TRA
- Personal Protective Equipment - PPE
- Surveys and Medical Surveillance - SUR
- Health and Safety Inspections - INP
- Working a Height - WAH
- Construction Site Work, and - CON
- Management System - MSYS
These 15 health and safety elements encompass the different systems of work which are observed during the Health and Safety Audit, which ensures a healthy and safe workplace.
Each of these have their own element in the audit and all questions connect to the question as stated above which, by default, connects to the first question mentioned.
The Risk Assessment element is the first as it holds the two main questions followed by the risk assessment questions. Many other questions within other elements will, in addition, link back to the Risk Assessment element.
This is due to many of the questions relating to control measure actions which must be taken in relation to hazards which are identified in the Risk Assessment.
This makes the employers compliance audit a true reflection of the status quo of their current Health and Safety Compliance for an employer may think that their risk assessment is complete as well as in place.
This holds a great benefit as a company may have done their risk assessments, but it does not always mean that the control measures have been put in place.
It is for this reason that clients must ensure that they cover all elements to ensure that they are prepared for the OHS compliance audit along with ensuring that the workplace is safe.
Health and Safety Audit Elements – further clarification and how the SafetyWallet Audit works
To understand what the OHS compliance audit entails, it is imperative to overview each element and what can be expected in the Health and Safety Audit.
It is important to note that the first five elements on the SafetyWallet Health and Safety Audit cover most administration aspects associated with Health and Safety within any company.
It aligns with the idea of the auditor being able to sit in an office environment where they can review documentation hands-on. As soon as this is done, the auditor can proceed with the physical evaluation of the premises, efficiently covering element 6 to 15 as they progress with the audit.
1. Risk Assessment
Under the risk assessment tab OHS compliance audit questions which relate specifically to the risk assessment are covered. It also includes any new questions which further break Section 8(2)(d) of the OHS Act down into specific aspects of the risk assessment.
The questions on this element will be the “Parent” questions to other elements. Here, questions will relate back to those which are on this element.
General risk assessment details, Hazardous Chemical Substances details, Lead, Asbestos, Hazardous Biological Agents details and Major Hazard Installations as well as construction details will be covered under this Element.
2. Contractor and Supplier Management
The Contractor and Supplier management element covers the Health and Safety Management of contractors, suppliers, and visitors on-site. It also includes general administration requirements as well as the breakdown of the Permit To Work into relevant aspects, linking it to the Permit To Work which is found in OHS.
3. Organisation and Structure
Under the organisation and structures element, policies, the assigning of Health and Safety appointments, the use of Health and Safety committees, the responsibilities of Health and Safety representatives, the use of Health and Safety Procedures and general Health and Safety duties of interest parties, is covered.
4. General Requirements and Communication
The element concerned with general requirements and communications with the Department of Labour consists of the registration with COIDA and Return of Earnings (RoE) requirements of a business along with any interactions with the Department of Labour.
In addition, it also includes the reporting of any, and all, occupational injuries, Section 24 Incident and occupational diseases.
Emergency preparedness – this involves building aspects which relate to the provision of an emergency evacuation, access for fire services, emergency evacuation plans, fire equipment as well as systems, fire precautions on construction sites, evacuation drills, and first aid treatment, as a crucial part of any company's OHS Compliance.
Building and Infrastructure
The element concerned with buildings and infrastructure includes all buildings and structures that the business occupies and uses. This includes electrical aspects which make up buildings, including physical aspects such as facilities available, thatch, and so on.
Building and Infrastructure also includes aspects relating to housekeeping, air quality, ergonomics, noise and temperature aspects within the buildings and structures.
Machinery and Equipment
The machinery and equipment element covers a broad spectrum of aspects including electrical, driven, and general machinery which can be found in the workplace.
It also includes the supervision of machinery, machinery in hazardous places, different machinery types which can be found in the workplace, the use of lifting machinery in the workplace, and the use of pressure equipment in the workplace.
Other aspects also include the use of lifts as well as passenger conveyors, the use of cranes and mixing plants on construction sites, and lastly, the use of heavy vehicles and mobile plant on construction sites.
8. Chemicals and Biologicals
The chemicals and biologicals element covers employees who are exposed to hazardous chemicals as well as lead, asbestos, and hazardous biological agents.
The element includes the duties of employees, the control of exposure along with the correct and safe use and disposal of these substances.
In addition, it also includes flammable substances as a separate section, which is predominantly covered by main by-laws. Lastly, this section includes requirements associated with the use of flammable and chemical storerooms.
9. Health and Safety Training
The Health and Safety Training element includes mandatory as well as crucial training aspects in Health and Safety. It also contains requirements associated with induction training and training required in certain situations.
10. Personal Protective Equipment
This element covers both the provision and use of Personal Protective Equipment aspects in various workplace environments as well as situations along with the correct and safe control and disposal thereof.
11. Surveys and Medical Surveillance
The surveys and medical surveillance element cover all surveys conducted in the workplace associated with hazardous chemicals, lead, asbestos, and hazardous biological agents. It also covers surveys associated with environmental temperatures as well as illumination and ventilation and noise.
Surveys and Medical Surveillance also includes medical surveillance of the aspects mentioned above.
12. Health and Safety Inspections
Workplace Health and Safety inspections relate to the general aspects concerned with inspections conducted in the workplace and include facilities, buildings, and the use of machinery.
Specific Health and Safety inspections are also covered, linked to inspection checklists in Occupational Health and Safety, thus allowing for non-compliance to any of these to link to the request for specific checklists.
The element also includes inspections on pressure equipment along with lift and passenger conveyor inspections. Lastly, the element also covers various aspects of required inspections which must be done on construction sites.
13. Working at Height
The element concerned with working at heights covers the general requirements therefor along with covering height work which is involved on construction sites such as rope access work, suspended platforms, material hoists, and numerous others.
Some of these aspects will have relevance to workplaces where certain height work is carried out although it is not carried out on the actual construction site.
14. Construction Site Work
The construction site work element covers various requirements associated with construction site work. This includes the duties of clients as well as designers, principal contractors, and contractors split into their individual aspects, which makes it easier to understand and follow.
Other construction work includes the management of sites, electrical installations on-site, on-site housekeeping and work involving excavations as well as demolition work.
15. Management System
The Management Systems element is yet to be reviewed and will be covered as soon as the ISO 45001 standard has been incorporated.
Why should companies become SafetyWallet members and allow a SafetyWallet Auditor to conduct the audit?
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Compliance is a legal requirement and in becoming a SafetyWallet members receive an 80% saving when they book their Health and Safety Audit.
Once the audit is conducted and feedback is given, employers can rest assured that they have all the assistance and support that they need to ensure full OHS compliance.
By having a SafetyWallet Auditor conduct the audit, both the employer as well as employees benefit greatly and in addition, SafetyWallet ensures that the employer receives assistance to ensure that Health and Safety in the workplace is aligned with the goal of the company.
With the audit conducted by SafetyWallet, employers can expect the following:
- Workplaces which are legally compliant in every way.
- Experienced auditors who can identify gaps which may exist in the OHS programme of the employer.
- Client feedback, which is provided after every follow-up visit with the purpose of updating the client on the compliance rate of their workplace.
- Audit protocols, which are updated regularly. Thus, ensuring that workplaces remain legally compliant.
- The issuing of annual compliance certificates.
These compliance certificates are valid for a year. It is a document which certifies, asserts, and approves the workplace as legally compliant with the requirements as stated in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The certificate further serves as proof that an employer has not only met but passed all legal standards which are legally required for a healthy and safe working environment to be provided for all.
By being a subscriber of SafetyWallet, employers are offered not only with the audit to ensure compliance, but comprehensive solutions by the SafetyWallet support team and services thought its partners like MAKROSAFE to ensure that the employees, contractors, suppliers, and visitors return home healthy and safe after work to their loved
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