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Doing a sanitation risk assessment? Here's what to look for

by , 18 July 2014
Workplace hygiene is incredibly important. If you leave your ablution facilities an unsanitary mess, they're going to become a source of bacteria. This is a slippery slope to all kinds of health risks.

It's the reason why you must include a sanitation risk assessment in your risk management plan.

This is your best chance of identifying the health hazards your employees have exposure to.

So when you set out to identify these risks, this is what you must look for...

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Take this quick quiz to find out if you can handle the DoL hot seat
Which risk assessments have to be checked by an approved inspector every two years?
Is it absolutely necessary for your company to appoint and train someone as a risk assessor?
When was the last time you did a risk assessment? (Is that too long?)
Have you checked and double checked the less obvious health hazards?
If you can't answer even one of these questions you're not only putting your employee's lives at risk; you're also putting yourself in danger of massive fine from the DoL.
Don't wait until it's too late.

You must identify hazards during a risk assessment and deal with them to comply with OHS regulations

OHS regulations make it very clear that you must protect your employees from physical harm and illness. 
To do this, you must know what hazards and risks your employees face. This applies to work that could cause serious accidents or unsanitary areas that could make them sick.
But how will you know what risks your employees face if you don't look?
To comply with regulations, do a risk assessment and look for these health hazards...
Look for these health hazards during your risk assessment
- Area where human waste might collect (toilets, septic tanks or blocked pluming);
- Damp areas where mold can or has grown;
- Areas where your employees dump waste;
- Rooms that have little or no ventilation;
- Areas that you don't clean regularly; and
- Storage areas that contain substances that could spread bacteria (a cleaning supply cupboard with a dirty mop).
All of these hazards can spread or encourage the growth of bacteria. This is how your employees get sick and that means you haven't done your job in terms of health and safety.
So take drastic action now to clean and repair these areas so they're no longer a health risk. 
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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. 

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