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Your company's health and safety programme won't be legally compliant if you make these eight risk assessment mistakes

by , 04 February 2015
When you plan your health and safety programme, you need to base it on a risk assessment. This way, you can create a plan specific to the dangers in your company.

Without a risk assessment, not only won't your programme work effectively, it also won't be legally compliant.

But even if you do a risk assessment and you make these eight mistakes, it still won't meet the OHS Act's requirements.

Read on to find out what these mistakes are so you can ensure your risk assessment complies...

Avoid these eight mistakes to ensure your risk assessment is legally compliant

  1. Not having a team to do the assessment
Always involve your employees or their representatives in your risk assessments. It should never just be you or your representative doing the assessment. All your employees can contribute to risk assessment process.
To make the most out of this, split your employees into teams. Get each team to assess a different part of your business for risks.
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  1.  Not appointing a lead assessor who knows what he's doing
If the person you appoint as your assessor isn't comfortable with everything he has to do, he could miss something important.
You need to recognise the limits of your assessor's skills. If you notice there are big gaps in his knowledge, bring in someone with specific experience to help. For example, a health and safety representative might be able to help identify all the risks on site.
  1. Hiring on outside experts to do the risk assessment, but he doesn't know your business
If you do bring in an outside expert to do the risk assessment process, you must give them information about your company. This must be a clear statement of your objectives and the resources available. This will help him follow a specific process.
  1. Overlooking possible risk categories
For example, you have to look for risks that fall under:
·         Fire hazards;
·         Falling hazards;
·         Mechanical hazards;
·         Electrical hazards; and
·         Hygiene hazards.
If you overlook any of these categories, you could miss crucial risks.
  1. Not planning for long-term hazards in your workplace
Long-term hazards are ones that will continue to be a problem and have a long-lasting impact. When you do your risk assessment, you have to identify these long-term hazards. This way you can plan how to deal with these long-term hazards.
  1. Using your procedures manual as your guide for the assessment instead of observing employees at work
What happens in your workplace might be different to what you outlined in your procedures manual. This means there may be specific risks you won't identify if you just use your manual.
  1. Strictly following a checklist and not considering factors outside of it
It's a good idea to draw up a checklist before you start your risk assessment. But this doesn't mean you should only stick to the list. You might forget something when you draw it up. That means you'll miss something during the assessment.
  1. Overlooking maintenance and cleaning
Secondary jobs such as maintenance or cleaning pose their own risks. Forgetting to include these in your assessment will leave a big gap. Serious accidents can happen in these types of jobs if you don't deal with them.
These mistakes will lead to your assessment being weak, one-sided and having major gaps in it. That's why it won't comply with the law.
You can avoid this by checking out the Risk Assessment Toolkit.

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