The 5 Steps of a Health and Safety Risk Assessment
Health and safety risk assessment is an important part of your occupational health and safety (OHSS) management plan. When proper assessments are implemented, hazards are uncovered. Risk areas are identified, and you can ascertain where control measures are needed to prevent illness, harm or injury. Health and safety risk assessment is a step-by-step process for controlling risks caused by hazards in the workplace.
Identify Potential and Existing Hazards
In industry, hazardous activities happen almost daily, and you need to be proactive in identifying these specific dangers by doing a health and safety risk assessment. Begin by answering some of these basic questions:
- Physical hazards – How do your employees work around or manage any hazardous equipment on site?
- Chemical hazards – How are harmful chemicals or caustic substances in or around the workplace being handled and managed?
- Biological hazards – Is there a good sanitation and health programme in place to avoid exposure to bacteria and viruses?
- Ergonomic hazards – How are the employees’ health or safety affected by work activities?
- What work practices exist?
- Is the general state of the premises in top condition?
Historical workplace information will help to shed light on common, repetitive risk issues. Take account of non-routine operations like maintenance operations and approach your employees about their safety concerns.
Assessing the Hazards
Once the hazards have been identified from your health and safety risk assessment, decide the likelihood of an employee being harmed, and how serious the injury might be.
- Are there varying situations that could increase the risk of injury?
- What has already been implemented to control hazards, and what further action can be taken?
- If further action is needed, appoint someone to carry out the action by a specific date.
Control the Hazards
The risk assessment has already identified possible hazards and how to assess them. Now, controls need to be put into place to rid yourself of them.
If they can’t be completely eradicated, can they be controlled to prevent injury? This could mean updating processes or replacing machinery, reducing exposure to hazardous materials, re-organising the workspace or even redesigning job descriptions.
Record the Results of Your Findings
Now that you have put extra controls in place through your health and safety risk assessment, it is vital that you record any significant findings. These could include the hazards that may still cause injury. Who might be harmed and how and what is being implemented to control potential and existing hazards?
Review the Controls That Have Been Put in Place
The controls that you have put in place need to be reviewed regularly to ensure that they are working for you. A further review can be done if you find that controls are no longer effective or additional changes lead to new hazards. Consider a review if your employees report any new safety concerns, specifically if there have been any accidents or near misses. Remember, it is your duty to reasonably protect your staff from harm or injury.
At IOH Solutions, we understand how on-duty injuries and ill health can ruin lives and businesses. By conducting thorough assessments, you can mitigate hazards. To be sure that your health and safety risk assessments meet national standards, contact IOH Solutions. We’ll assist and assess for your health and safety. We also operate in the Eastern and Western Cape, too.