A risk assessment is a systematic identification of undesired events and their causes. It analyses their likelihood and potential consequences in order to make a valued judgment as to their acceptability or tolerability. Inspectors of the Department of Labour ensure they are well-informed in order to be able to make such judgements when they assess risk.

A Risk Assessment is necessary to keep a company compliant
A Health and Safety Risk Assessment is the most important part of the Occupational Health & Safety Act

Risk assessments are essential in a continuous improvement cycle. Once a potential risk has been identified, control measures can be developed and implemented. These measures will have to be monitored and, where necessary, be adjusted to ensure a workplace remains compliant. Generally,
there are three types of risk assessments;

– Baseline risk assessments determine the status with regards to health and safety risks in the workplace as a whole

– Issue-based risk assessments. These should be done whenever there is a change in the workplace

– Continuous risk assessment, which entails continuous monitoring of conditions in the workplace

Each risk assessment consists of a framework of principles, practices and criteria for implementing best practice in managing environmental and occupational health and safety risks. Assessing risk requires extensive knowledge about the energy and other forms of stressors involved, the organisation, processes, value judgements and effective control measures. The workplace is a dynamic environment which changes virtually every day. Factors like the socio-economic compilation of the staff contingent, or equipment used can be controlled. Other factors are impossible to control as they are being issued or instructed by institutions or bodies that operate outside the sphere of the company. This includes legislative changes, industry directives and municipal by-laws, to name a few.

To be able to conduct a risk assessment, one must fully understand the possible dangers a risk poses and the sort or type of control measures that can be put in place. This requires that the health and safety official fully understands what is happening in the industry and society and has a thorough understanding of possible solutions that are being offered. Inspectors of the Department of Labour equally know that, in order to be able to enforce companies to be compliant to the South African Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993), they will need to be aware of these solutions too. As they want to be avoid considered being fools, inspectors of the Department of Labour will not ignore any opportunity to acquire additional knowledge. To them, knowledge is key and they make sure they are regularly being trained or updated about new trends and developments. Business-to-Business magazines, industry exhibitions and seminars as well as workshops and informal gatherings are a perfect way to remain informed about what is happening and about the direction a certain industry is about to take.

Health and Safety consultants of MAKROSAFE often come across these inspectors of the Department of Labour when they conduct their own research. As both MAKROSAFE Health and Safety consultants and inspectors from the Department of Labour strive to achieve the same goals, they often exchange vital knowledge and key information in the interest of health and safety. Benefit from this cumulated knowledge and experience by having your risk assessed by the consultants of MAKROSAFE.


Posted date: 5th Apr 2016
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