SACPCMP registration debate continues

Can I provide my clients with a full service or not?

The debate about SACPCMP registration for construction safety practitioners has been a hot topic since promulgation of the 2014 Construction Regulations. Some are for it and some are not.

The matter of the fact remains that you have to register if you are a Health and Safety practitioner in the construction industry but there are different view points when it comes to Health and Safety consultants that are not involved in the construction industry in a full time capacity.

I asked Sheqafrica a question about safety files, risk assessments and incident accident investigations. You can read the full blog at Sheqafrica.

Risk Controls

Risk controls are an important part of the risk assessment process. Risk control techniques are meant to minimise the significant risks to which individuals and organisations are exposed to. By assessing the effectiveness of the controls we can have a measured indication of the level of risk exposure and they can help to identify additional requirements for the control of risks.

The first step will be to identify existing controls that are already in place. A very common and practical way to categorize controls is as follows. Please note that this is an example list only and not an extensive list:

  • Elimination
    • This is to totally eliminate (remove) a risk
  • Engineering Controls
    • Replacing broken or missing safety guards
    • Installing safety barriers
    • Redesign equipment that are used for the activity
  • Administrative Controls
    • Implementing permits to work
    • Registers (For control measures)
    • Inspections
    • Preventive maintenance schedules
  • PPE Controls
    • PPE and Clothing
    • Selecting correct types of PPE
    • PPE surveys

Quantifiable benefits

A cost-benefit analysis should be performed hand in hand with the above methods of risk control. A cost-benefit is a quantification of the financial benefit the business is getting in the effort it is expending. Some examples of a logical process can be as follows:

  • What will it cost the organisation for each of the extra control measures that are proposed. Make sure that all costs are calculated and that all cost items are considered.
  • Determine the benefits would be to the business. Not all benefits will be monitory, some might be time saved, benefit to employees, benefit to the community, etc.

Non-quantifiable benefits

Don’t forget the non-quantifiable factors. Financial costs and benefits should not be the only factors to look at. Such non-quantifiable factors can for instance be legal compliance. Imagine the cost implications should your organisation be panelised by a client or fined by the Department of Labour. These fines and penalties will outweigh any benefit that our business might have had by not implementing the risk controls.

Critical controls

Despite any advantages or disadvantages that might have been identified it is critical to identify critical controls. This implies that that the controls that are identified to most likely reduce the risk to a tolerable level should be identified and communicated individually.

Remember that the risk assessments and the control measures are only the first two steps in a safety management system. Risk assessments should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that your business has the safest possible working conditions for your employees and the surrounding community.

Please feel free to contact us at info@safetyfile.co.za for all of your risk assessment and Health and Safety requirements. We are there to help.

 

 

 

 

Requirements for a Risk Assessment (Part 2)

Step 3 – Converting hazards to risks

Now that the hazards have been identified we can move on to convert those hazards to risks. Remember that it vital that the risks are assessed and not the hazards! The important part is to work systematically; this will ensure that you have an end result containing the steps of the process (the activity), the hazards and the resulting risk.

A structured way of doing the conversion process can be done to determine which hazards can get out of control. Always think of the “what if?” It can be done as follows:

  • Non-conformance or management failure
  • Training and skills deficiency
  • Design defects
  • Inadequate or inappropriate maintenance
  • Substandard physical conditions
  • Illegal acts
  • Containment failure

Always consider the human factor and take the normal, abnormal and emergency activities in consideration.

Step 4 – Ranking risks

Now it’s time for the risks to be analysed and then to be ranked. The purpose of analysing the risks is to objectively establish the priority of the actions that will be taken to eliminate or reduce the risk to a tolerable state.

The evaluation process of the risk assessment is a very important part because it will determine the rest of the processes within the risk assessment. If you do it half-heartedly the rest of the risk assessment could become totally invalid or ineffective.

Remember that this is an example only and does not contain the risk rating matrix and extensive details of ranking a risk, it’s for illustrative purposes only. An example of a method of rating a risk can be done as follows:

  • Severity for safety
    • Catastrophic
    • Critical
    • Serious
    • Marginal
    • Negligible
  • Frequency for safety
    • Frequent
    • Regular
    • Occasional
    • Uncommon
    • Rare
  • Exposure for safety
    • Extensive
    • Widespread
    • Significant
    • Restricted
    • Negligible
  • Severity for Occupational health
    • Catastrophic
    • Critical
    • Serious
    • Marginal
    • Negligible
  • Frequency for Occupational health
    • Frequent
    • Regular
    • Occasional
    • Uncommon
    • Rare
  • Exposure for Occupational health
    • Extensive
    • Widespread
    • Significant
    • Restricted
    • Negligible
  • Severity for environment
    • Catastrophic
    • Critical
    • Serious
    • Marginal
    • Negligible
  • Potential ecological and social impact
    • Catastrophic
    • Critical
    • Serious
    • Marginal
    • Negligible
  • Frequency for environment
    • Frequent
    • Regular
    • Occasional
    • Uncommon
    • Rare
  • Exposure for environment
    • Extensive
    • Widespread
    • Significant
    • Local
    • Restricted
    • Negligible

Step 6 – Evaluating effectiveness of existing controls

The best way of evaluating the extensiveness of existing controls is to determine if the risk rating has come down or have moved up. Current stats of incidents can also be examined to see if there has been a decline from the time of before the control measures have been put in place. Only time will tell if your control measures have been as effective as you intended it to be.

Make sure to read our next blog on Control measures for a Risk Assessment. Please contact us at info@safetyfile.co.za for all of your risk assessment and Health and Safety requirements. We are there to help.

Requirements for a Risk Assessment (Part 1)

There are 5 basic requirements for a risk assessment.

  1. Preparation
  2. Hazard Identification
  3. Converting hazards to risks
  4. Ranking risks
  5. Evaluating effectiveness of existing controls

 

Step 1 – Preparation

 

Team members need to:

  • Understand the methods that will be used to gather information and they need to know how to assess the information.
  • They must have the ability to identify workplace hazards.
  • They must understand the difference between physical hazards, behaviour based hazards and procedural hazards.
  • Understand the hazards of energy sources in the workplace.

Obtaining process flow diagrams and site plans will be a great help in the preparation of the risk assessments. They will help you to understand the way the jobs are performed and organised as well as what type of machinery is used.

Step 2 – Identifying hazards

To systematically isolate the hazards the recommended method is to define the boundaries of the risk assessment. Define where the process that’s being assessed begins and where it ends:

  • Do an events and conditions charting. Use the existing company documents to map the theoretical geographical area of the tasks in a process.
  • Determine if there are any deviations from the documented process.
  • What is the energy sources present in the processes? Some examples of energy sources may be:
    • Mechanical
    • Electrical
    • Kinetic
    • Gravitational
    • Chemical
    • Noise

Make a list of these energy sources that you have identified and state what it is that contains these energy sources. At this stage you should not try and determine if an energy source has a potential risk, it is only about establishing the hazards for now.

Make sure to read part 2 on Requirements for a Risk Assessment. Please contact us at info@safetyfile.co.za for all of your risk assessment and Health and Safety requirements. We are there to help.

General Principles of a Risk Assessment Process

A risk assessment process helps us to identify who or what can be harmed and in what way it can cause harm. As soon as we have identified the hazards we can then prioritize them and the associated risks in order to decide how we are going to respond to them so that they can be removed, minimized or controlled.

It involves more than just setting up a risk assessment team and following processes. There are specific steps to follow.

That is why the workplace risk assessment process should:

  • All risks that arise from process and work related activities should be considered.
  • It must be appropriate to the nature of the process or work activities and the level of the detail within the risk assessment should match the level of risk.
  • It should be a systematic process that assesses:
    • Minor risks with growth potential;
    • Significant risks;
    • All measures and controls;
    • The lack of measures and controls and the reasons for their lack or nonexistence;
    • All aspects and processes of the work activity;
  • Consider both routine and non-routine activities and processes.
  • Changes to the work environment should be considered.
  • Different risk groups and individuals must be considered.
  • Normal, abnormal and emergency procedures and processes must be considered.

The risk assessment process must be a structured, practical system that encourages participation to ensure that it works sufficiently.

Make sure to read our next blog on Requirements for a Risk Assessment. Please contact us at info@safetyfile.co.za for all of your risk assessment and Health and Safety requirements. We are there to help.

The importance of risk assessments

It is vitally important that the risk assessment process needs to be of high quality, if it is not the program will have a week base from which to work. Risks form part of the entire organisation at every level and are part of every function or activity.
The level and intensity of the baseline risk assessment should not be determined by the amount of money available but by the nature of the organizations’ operations.
It has been proven by history that some of the major disasters could have been prevented by a proper risk assessment. A risk assessment is a proactive approach and is the most effective method to highlight latent defects in a workplace that, in conjunction with other hazards, could lead to incidents. That is the reason why the risk assessment must be done in as much detail as possible and thereafter high-priority risks needs to be taken through the next proses of issue-based risk assessments.
When risk assessments are done properly they can save lives, prevent injury and prevent damage to property or equipment. They can become money savers instead of an expense.
Make sure to read our next blog on General Principles Of A Risk Assessment Process. Please contact us at info@safetyfile.co.za for all of your risk assessment and Health and Safety requirements. We are there to help.