Why is a Health and Safety Risk Assessment Important?
The purpose of a risk assessment is that it serves as management tool which helps employers ensure that they provide a healthy and safe environment in which employees work, which is a legal obligation that employers have as according to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993.
Hazards and Risks
There is a distinct difference between a hazard and a risk, and it is imperative that the two are not confused. A hazard can be described as something which has the potential to cause harm to the health, safety, or wellbeing of an employee, visitor to the site, or anyone else who may be affected by operations.
A risk is the likelihood that an incident, injury, or an accident will occur as result of exposure to a hazard, or a combination of hazards.
Risks are categorised according to the potential harm or the adverse health effect that a hazard may have along with the number of times that employees may be exposed and the number of employees who are exposed.
A risk assessment involves the identification of hazards and the classification of risks which can result from hazards, the identification of those who are at risk. It also involves the identification and implementation of control measures to either eliminate or reduce the chance of illness, damage, and/or injury.
Employers must ensure that they take the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of employees by:
- Preventing occupational risks.
- Providing information to employees.
- Providing employees with training.
- Providing the organisation and means to implement the necessary control measures.
While the purpose of a risk assessment includes the prevention of occupational risks, as is the goal, it may not always be possible or achievable to prevent risks in practice. Where it is not possible to eliminate risks, they must be reduced, and the residual risk must subsequently be controlled.
At a later stage, as part of a review programme, these residual risks will be reassessed and the possibility of elimination of the risk must be reconsidered and explored.
The risk assessment must be structured, and it must be applied to help employers:
- Identify the hazards which are created in the workplace, evaluate the risks which are associated with these hazards, and determine the control measures to be implemented to protect the health and safety of employees.
- Evaluate the risks to make the best and informed decisions towards the selection of equipment, chemical substances, or the preparations to be used, in relation to the workplace and the organisation of the work or activities.
- Evaluate whether the measures which are in place are effective.
- Prioritise action if there are additional measures necessary as result of the assessment.
- Demonstrate to themselves, relevant authorities, employees, and employee representatives that all factors crucial to the work have been considered. It also shows that all informed valid judgements have been made regarding the risks and the measures which must be taken to safeguard employees.
- Ensure control measures in addition to the working and production methods, considered necessary, are implemented following a risk assessment and that it offers an improvement in the level of protection of the health and safety of employees.
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.
What is a Risk Assessment
Blogs - Health-and-Safety-Risk-Assessment