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10 health and safety steps the Tongaat Mall crew should have followed to avoid tragedy

by , 04 March 2014
Cutting corners with your business's health and safety will only expose you to risk. Take the collapse of the Tongaat Mall on 19 November 2013, for example. It's emerged that the mall's collapse - which killed two and injured almost 30 others - is the result of negligent health and safety practices. And you should learn from this...

What you can learn from Tongaat Mall tragedy

A commission of inquiry found that in the four months preceding the mall's collapse, no health and safety audits were carried out. So it's no wonder the construction work being carried out on the mall was not done safely!

Yet, as the gurus behind the Health and Safety Advisor Loose Leaf point out, it's actually really simple to conduct an effective health and safety risk management audit.

Follow these 10 steps to the perfect health and safety risk management audit

  1. Plan and prepare: Make sure you let everyone know you're going to carry out the audit, and collect all the information you're going to need to complete the audit. It also helps to read through previous audit reports.
  2. Arrange a meeting for your audit team: Make sure your objectives are clear to everyone.
  3. Review the overall handling of incidents on site: Refer to the incident report, and check to see that all previous incidents have been recorded correctly. Have you handled all the incidents in the manner prescribed by the law?
  4. Evaluate your risk assessments: To do this, refer to your risk assessment protocol.
  5. Familiarise yourself with site-specific requirements: Refer to your site risk profile.
  6. Do a compliance audit: Do you comply with the requirements of your site-specific health and safety risk management system?
  7. Evaluate and summarise audit findings: This is the tough part, but it's where you'll be able to see clearly whether or not you are meeting the right standards.
  8. Arrange a feedback meeting: Let your employer know what you've learned through the audit, so you can get his/her buy-in should further corrective measures be required.
  9. Compile a detailed report: It must be completed within 10-15 working days, and it should be as comprehensive as possible.
  10. Check your audit report: Evaluate the recommendations made in your audit report, so you can start taking steps to remedy any problems.

Perhaps if the owners and managers of the Tongaat Mall had placed greater emphasis on this audit, they could have avoided this tragedy!

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