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Here's where to start to get your SME compliant with the OHS Act before your first DoL inspection

by , 06 May 2015
As an SME, you probably find the idea of health and safety overwhelming!

Added to the fact that accident rates in SMEs are twice that of larger businesses. Or that the cost of safety failure could shut you down completely! And I'm sure you don't know how to ensure you're ready for a DoL inspection.

I'm going to tell you where to start so you can be 100% sure your health and management system is compliant, before the DoL pays you a visit!

**********Reader's choice**********

Your 1 527 health and safety duties as an employer

When was the last time you checked what disinfecting agents and cleaning materials your company uses?

Do you comply with the Hazardous Chemical Regulations?

There are over 1 500 items you must evaluate in your workplace according to the OHS Act and hundreds more from SABS 0400: National Building regulations.

Health and safety laws apply to EVERY company, if you have more than 20 employees you have even greater obligations.


10 Things you need to have in place before your DoL inspection

1. Elect a Safety Representative
If you employ more than 20 people, you have to, by law, appoint a Health and Safety Representative. This person will manage all the day-to-day aspects of your employees' health and safety.

2. Train your employees on your health and safety policies
You need to incorporate safety training in the induction of new employees. A great tool to use is Induction Training 101.

3. Consider your working environment
You need to look at the following:
•    Is your building structure safe?
•    Is the ventilation system working properly?
•    Is the lighting in the building sufficient?
•    What controls are you going to put in place to manage noise?
•    How will you manage extreme temperatures? and
•    What safety signs and markings does your building need?

4. How will you manage ergonomic factors
This refers to the design and structure of your equipment. You need to make sure that your employees are safe from injury due to heavy lifting and repetitive strain.

5. Look at your first aid requirements
Decide how many first aid boxes you're going to have. We recommend having 1 first aid box per 5 employees. To do this, you must take into account:
  • the type of injuries that are likely to occur at your workplace;
  • the nature of the activities performed; and
  • the number of employees
You also need to make sure your first aid kits have stock. Elect your first aiders and send them on a training course. You'll also need to put a system in place for managing all your employee medical records!

Read on for 5 more basics you'll need to cover…
**********Reader's choice**********

Revealed: The one vital element MISSING FROM 88% of all first aid training!

Do your first aiders know what it is?

Click here to find out


Consider these areas to help you start health and safety in your SME

6. Implement electrical safety elements
Ensure all electrical wiring is covered with fire resistant materials to protect your business from electrical fires and your employees from electrical shocks.

7. Make sure your employees have the right personal protective equipment (PPE)
PPE is a very important aspect of health and safety. You need to consider:
•    Choosing the right PPE for workers of different divisions;
•    Training employees in choosing the right PPE; and
•    The process for maintaining and replacing PPE.

8. Check your fire safety and emergency preparedness
To make sure your company is ready for any disaster, you must have these in place:
•    Emergency response plan;
•    Fire fighting equipment;
•    Alarm systems; and
•    Adequate aisles and exits.

9. Ensure you have adequate hygiene facilities
Don't overlook this! Pay attention to these or the DoL could fine you:
•    Toilets and washing facilities; and
•    Provision of drinking water.

10. Prepare your Health and Safety File (SHE File)
ALL your health and safety documents relating to everything we've mentioned needs to be in your SHE File. That way, when the DoL comes knocking, you have everything you need in one place! For the electronic solution to doing your SHE File in less than an hour, click here.

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