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Make risk assessments routine instead of ad hoc or you'll risk problems later on

by , 11 June 2014
Imagine we lived in a perfect world where things weren't constantly changing. Where a problem stayed fixed. Or where you didn't have to keep looking over your shoulder to ensure things were fine.

Sadly, that's not the world we live in. Things are always changing and new problems always arise.

This is true for everything, but especially for your company's health and safety plan. New problems can arise whenever you hire new employees, get new equipment, change job site and so one.

That's why you have to stay on top of your safety issues. And this is where regular risk assessments come in...

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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.
 
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Routine risk assessments are your best defence against workplace hazards

Some employers make the mistake of doing one risk assessment and think they've done their job. They forget that things change and new workplace hazards can arise. 
 
Because of this the safety management system you have in place might not protect your employees properly anymore.
This is why you need to schedule a risk assessment at lease every six months. According to the Health and Safety Advisor, this will help you implement proper risk management controls, such as:
 
- OHS Training;
- Inspections;
- Safe work procedures;
- Employee fitness tests;
- Maintenance on equipment and structures; and
- Proper supervision.
 
But every six months might not be enough. So when else should you do a risk assessment to check for issues?
 
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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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Here's when you should do a risk assessment

You should do a risk assessment when:
- You hire new employees;
- New equipment arrives;
- You move to a new work site;
- OHS regulations change; and
- You get complaints or suggestions from your employees on improving your health and safety programme.
 
If you ensure you make your risk assessment a routine thing, instead of a rare occurrence, you'll be able to catch any problems before they cause a bigger one.


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