Health and safety in the workplace revolves around identifying and controlling possible hazards that could cause an incident. There are various ways to determine how healthy and safe your workplace is. Most can be done by those involved in the company's health and safety committee. Having it audited by specialists at least once a year, also updates you about your technical and moral compliance.
The South African Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) leaves little to wonder in terms of compliance of the workplace. Section 8.2 of the Act clearly states that every employer 'has to provide and maintain systems of work, plant and machinery that are safe and without risk to health'. Most employers rely on baseline risk assessments, issue-based risk assessments or continuous risk assessments to determine their compliance to section 8.2 of the Act. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, rigorously sticking to Safe Operating Procedures (SOP's) and risk assessment checklists can lead to ignoring a changing society or new technologies. Especially the latter, could save company's significant amounts of money and / or could improve health and safety much faster.
Where risk assessments only consider previous risk assessments reports, the company's Occupational Health and Safety policy, hazard reports, minutes of the health and safety committee, SOP's and other relevant documentation, a compliance audit will benchmark you status to sources over and above what is available in the workplace. MAKROSAFE Health and Safety consultants also consider good practices in the industry, additional by-laws and legislation as well as international benchmarks to determine if your company is compliant.
In the process of auditing your company, the MAKROSAFE consultants make use of a rigorous approach that includes identifying any possible risks, analysing and evaluating them, suggesting improvements that can be made while respecting the budget, time and resources available and monitoring the effect these mitigating measures have. They also ensure that, or advice on ways to ensure that all improvements are communicated to all parties involved. Toolbox talks are an obvious way to do this, but the knowledge and experience MAKROSAFE Health and Safety consultants have gained over many years in conducting compliance audits, has also contributed to the portfolio of documents MAKROSAFE has available for its clients. This includes health and safety posters as well as health and safety alerts. These, and many other documents, have proven to be very effective in achieving maximum communication with all parties involved.
The South African Occupational Health and Safety Act is very clear about who should be protected. Section 39.1 of the Act reminds employers that 'whenever in any legal proceedings in terms of this Act is proved that any person was present on or in any premises, that person shall, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed to be an employee'. This leaves no doubt that even clients, visitors, suppliers or any other person on your premises is the responsibility of the employer in terms of health and safety. They will know their rights when their health and safety is jeopardized. Do the clever thing and have your company audited regularly by an outside, but experienced service provider in terms of health and safety.
You have the right to know how well you status is in terms of health and safety compliance. Only once you know your status you will succeed in either putting measures in place to tolerate the risk, transfer it, terminate it or treat it.
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