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.





How to do Health and Safety inspection sheets

Before we begin it must be noted that there is a big difference between an inspection and an audit. An inspection is performed frequently and on a regular basis by the SHE Rep or the legally appointed person or operator of the tools or equipment. Audits are performed less frequently, usually every 3 to 4 months by a senior employee or by an external auditor.

It must also be noted that there are three types of inspections. The first is a Planned Job Observation, the second is an inspection after an accident or incident and the third is a general routine inspection. We will be discussing the third type of inspection.

Prepare for the inspection

The first step of your inspection is not the actual inspection but to prepare and plan for the inspection. Make sure that you have set out a plan of action of what exactly you are going to inspect, when you are going to do the inspection, how you are going to do the inspection and who is going to be involved with the inspection.

Inspect previous inspection sheets and familiarise yourself with the findings and notes of these inspections. Familiarise yourself with the hazards previously identified and understand the work procedures. Make use of assistance if you are in any way unsure of the work procedures, tools or equipment that you will be inspecting. Make sure that you use the correct inspection form for the inspection. Notify the supervisor / manager of the inspection before the inspection.

Conduct the investigation

Introduce yourself to the relevant employees where the health and safety inspection is going to take place. Explain to them the reasons for the inspection and ask them for assistance. Making use of the employee will make the inspection easier and will make the employee feel appreciated and important.

When starting the inspection you must always write down the inspectors name and the date of the inspection. Use your notes of the previous inspections done and hazards that were identified. Inspect to see if previously noted findings have been resolved and if it is sufficient if resolved. Get feedback from the employee or operator. Do an analysis to see if there are new hazards or if the existing hazards have increased or decreased in potentially dangerous situations.

Make detailed notes of your health and safety inspection. Make drawings if necessary. Take photos to support evidence. Ensure that you have done the health and safety inspection from or possible angles and that all possible scenarios have been covered. Think out of the box. Look for possible cover-ups from employees, supervisors or managers. Don’t be intimidated by their presence or line of authority.

Our next blog will be on the different types of health and safety inspection sheets. Feel free to share and comment on this blog.

Contact us today at info@safetyfile.co.za for assistance with your workplace inspections. We are here to help you.

Why do Health And Safety Inspection Sheets

Health and Safety inspection sheets can be seen in a negative way but there are reasons for them. They are not there just to keep employees busy or because the legislation requires you to do them. It goes much further than that.

Inspection forms should form part of your Health and Safety Management System as well as your prevention program. They provide you with a record system that will assist you in numerous ways, they can help to prevent employee injuries and loss of money or loss of production because your tools or equipment broke and you were not even aware of any defective equipment in your workplace because your employees simply neglected to inform you.

Employee safety can be improved by identifying possible hazards and implementing safeguarding measures. It is cheaper to prevent an incident than it is to retrain a new employee or loss of production due to an incident.

Inspection records can also be used to protect a business after an accident or incident. They will serve as a tracking system by the Department Of Labour while doing an investigation into an incident. The inspection sheet can then be used as proof that the equipment was inspection according to legislation and that the employer was not negligent in its operations.

Health and Safety inspection sheets has an even bigger and wider role as set out in this article but is to detailed to discuss in this forum. Contact us today at info@safetyfile.co.za for assistance with your workplace inspections. We are here to help you.

What is a safety file?

You have submitted your quotation and just received the confirmation that the project is yours, maybe the excitement is even bigger because it’s the first time that you are doing a project for this client. It’s a big client and you have been trying for ages to get onto their vendor list, but the excitement is short lived, they have asked you for your safety file. Your what?

Confusion sets in

You have no idea what a safety file is or where to start. You open Google and start searching, you think this cant be so difficult, it’s probably only some type of document that they want. Then you start realizing it’s not so straightforward. You click on link after link on your search results, you read blogs, you search more and more but you cant find the quick solutions that you where hoping for. The more you search the more you get confused and the more your frustration grows. You just can’t seem to find a clear description of what a safety file is.

You are not alone

You are not the only one asking this question. Most contractors, especially the smaller contractors, have no idea what a safety file is, why it exists, what should be in it or what it is used for. Hundreds upon hundreds of contractors are in the exact same situation. Some of them due to pure ignorance, others due to a lack of knowledge.

The problem

For many years contractors, big and small, got away with presenting a safety file when they perform a job for a client. It was in general an accepted practice to quote or tender for a project, get the job and get on site and do the work. Over the years this started changing. Every day more workers got injured on sites and more fatalities occurred. The Department Of Labour simply had no option but to get more strict with the enforcement of Health And Safety Regulations.

The main contractors where the first to get up to date with their health and safety purely because the spotlight was on them and not on the smaller contractors. The result is that subcontractors in general were left uneducated regarding Health and Safety and specifically safety files.

So what is a safety file then?

In short it is a file that consists of a collection of documents regarding your business, the type of work you do and completed for that specific site, yes that’s correct, every safety file is site specific and cannot be used for all sites.

Let’s see what Legislation says. The Construction Regulations defines it as follows –  “health and safety file” means a file, or other record containing the information in writing required by these Regulations;”

In Construction Regulation 7 (1)(b) it stipulates that a principal contractor and contractor must – “open and keep on site a health and safety file, which must include all documentation required in terms of the Act and these Regulations, which must be made available on request to an inspector, the client, the client’s agent or a contractor; …”

What it comes down to

Every contractor, principal, big or small must have a completed safety file for the construction site that they are working on. It does not make a difference if you are new to contracting or have done the same work for a 100 years, whether you have 1 or 1000 employees on site. There is no legal way around it.

But what if you use subcontractors?

The same implies. They become a contractor and must have their own safety file. There is a very general misconception that you can make use of subcontractors and just slot them into your safety file as if they were your own employees, the truth is that you cannot and should not. You might get away with it a few times, until their is an incident on a site. The subcontractor is an entity on it’s own, they are not your employees.

They are not covered by your Workman’s Compensation and in most cases not by your Public Liability Insurance. In short, you are playing with the future of your business if you make use of subcontractors and they are slotted into your safety file without having any file or records of their own or even worse, You don’t even have a safety file of your own.

You can watch the video version here.

So what is in a safety file

That will be the topic of our next blog but in the meantime please contact us with all of your Health And safety queries, concerns or questions.

We are here to help.