Are you 100% sure your company doesn't have any leaking pipes? Does your company have proper waste removal processes?
One way of ensuring your company isn't contributing to the destruction of the environment, is to do a complete and proper risk assessment of your workplace that includes environmental impact factors.
This risk assessment won't only identify the hazards and risks in your workplace, but also help to identify any risks your company poses to the environment.
By identifying the risks, you'll also be able to take preventative and precautionary measures to minimise or prevent any harm. This'll put you in the all-clear with your OHSA obligations!
How to conduct a risk assessment
Firstly, gather as much information as you possibly can about your workplace.
Chat to employees about their work functions and get any documents that'll help you with your risk assessment. For example, a production process flow diagram for the work area to identify all the tasks that contributes to the process flow.
You should also question and interview people about their work and the hazards in their work area (if any).
What is a hazard?
A hazard is any source of harm that can create a risk to people, property, or the environment. For example, flammable chemicals and gases are hazards to both you and the environment.
It can cause harm to your employees if used incorrectly and harm to the environment if they aren't disposed of properly.
Get 29 essential health and safety inspection checklists
Never again will these questions plague you:
Is my first aid kit complete?
How often am I supposed to clean my canteen?
What should I include in my daily forklift inspection?
Does it matter if the hooter on my delivery vehicle isn't working?
I only have one toilet for every 30 employees. Is this enough?
This is because my team of health and safety experts and I have compiled templates of the 29 most common inspection checklists you'll use in your business!
You've identified the hazards, now what?
When you've identified all the hazards in your workplace, you then have to identify the risks involved with each hazard.
A risk is the probability or likelihood of something happening that could result in harm to people, property, processes or the environment.
Chemicals are a potential hazard. They create :
A fire risk;
A health risk; and
A pollution risk.
Once you've identified all the risks related to each hazard, categorise the risks into safety, health and environmental risks.
You must then 'rate' the risk according to the situation. For example, a toxic substance poses a low risk when used under controlled circumstances.
The same hazard can pose a much higher risk in an emergency than under normal use. For example, a toxic substance poses a low risk when used under controlled circumstances but can cause a major catastrophe if accidentally released in bulk.
Your 1527 Health and Safety duties as an employer
Don't ignore your health and safety obligations. You could face a R100 000 fine and/or a jail sentence.
to find the ultimate solution to avoid penalties
Identify then quantify
Before you make a decision about what precautionary measures to implement, quantify the risks.
This basically means classifying how big or small a risk the hazard poses to your business. This will help you to identify the high risks and give you an indication of where you should target your resources first.
If you want to know how to conduct a risk assessment in detail and how to quantify your risks, then watch this space for a new product launch called Risk Assessments: The 100% legally compliant risk assessment toolkit.
Now you can identify any risks that your company poses to your workplace and the environment.
Until next time,
Managing Editor: Health and Safety Advisor
P.S. COMING SOON… Are you doing your risk assessments correctly? Get the ultimate toolkit CD to ensure your risk assessments are 100% legally compliant. Watch this space!