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Don't forget health risks when you conduct risk assessments...

by , 20 May 2013
One area of running a business that leads to many a business owner's downfall is your health and safety obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act or OHSA. That's because there are so many safety aspects to keep under control to keep your business as well as your employees' safety in check. So it's little wonder that there's so much focus on the safety aspects of employee health and safety as that's where most fatalities arise, but don't forget to include health risks in your risk assessments, too.

 
Last week, the Department of Labour in the Eastern Cape held an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Stakeholders Forum.
 
At the forum, stakeholders ranging from organised business, organised labour and Government departments looked at how to reach 100 % compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Act in the workplace, says the Department of Labour website.
 
That's because the region's already showing great promise in this area, with incident statistics and analysis in the Eastern Cape region on Occupational Health and Safety from 2006 to 2012 showing a drop of reported incidents from 291 in 2006 to just 39 in 2012.
 
The best part?
 
The majority of 2012/13 statistics are minor, including back pain and bruises.
 
But the forum members were asked to go back to their risk assessment tools and find ways to incorporate the health risks into their worker health profiles as most companies focus more on safety risks than on health risks, says the Department of Labour website.
 
Don't forget that risk assessments are a legal requirement…
 
This is essential if your business isn't already doing so, as risk assessments are actually a legal requirement of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), so not conducting them leaves you open to a R100 000 fine or two years in jail or even both, says The Health and Safety Bulletin.
 
Think of health risks, not just safety risks, when you cover the four basic aspects of a risk assessment!
 
To do so, make sure you cover not only the safety aspects but also health risks when you look into the following four essential aspects of a risk assessment, says FSPBusiness:
  1. What are the hazards associated with this role?
  2. Who could be harmed and how?
  3. What are you already doing to minimise the health and safety risk?
  4. What further action is necessary – by whom and when?
There you have it.
 
While Bheki Gama, the Chief Director Provincial Operations in the Eastern Cape, says: 'Safety should underpin the operations of any business,' don't forget to include health risks in your risk assessments.
 
It's the only way to not just prevent fatalities but ensure your employees' health isn't put at risk in the workplace.

Here's how you can be 100% sure your risk assessments are legally complaint...
 

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