One of the primary objectives of Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 and generally accepted Health and Safety practise is to create a health, safe and prepared working environment and in so doing assist in preventing injuries to employees, damage to company assets such as equipment and property and not damage our environment. One of the best ways to achieve this is to identify hazards, assess their risks and then put together a risk management plan to effectively address and reduce the individual hazards from occurring, so eliminate them. If the hazard is slight or has a low risk rating, it could also be mitigated or accepted by management to live with the hazard. Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (HIRA) is a skill that has to be learnt and our course provides candidates with a good basic knowledge and the necessary skills to conduct a HIRA in the workplace.
There are many references made to Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (HIRA) in the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its Regulations. Below are a few examples:
- OHS Act (8) – Employers must ensure a workplace free of risks by taking steps to eliminate or mitigate against hazards or potential hazards.
- OHS Act (10) – Manufacturers must ensure that their products are safe and without risk.
- OHS Act (12) – Employers must identify hazards and evaluate the risks associated with work which constitutes a hazard to the health of employees.
- OHS Act (18) – Health & Safety Representatives must identify potential hazards and potential major incidents in the workplace.
- Major Hazard Installation Regulations (5) – An employer shall carry out risk assessments and submit them to the chief inspector, relevant local government and provincial director.
- Construction Regulations (5) – The client must prepare a baseline risk assessment for an intended construction project
- Construction Regulations (9) – A contractor must, before the commencement of any construction work and during such construction work, have risk assessments performed by a competent person.
- Construction Regulations (10) – A fall protection plan must include a risk assessment of all work carried out from a fall risk position and the procedures and methods used to address all the risks identified per location.
We can therefore safely assume that being able to identify and correctly conduct a Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (HIRA) is a critical skill in the workplace and is also required by law. By not having adequately trained staff to conduct these assessments, hazards may not be noticed, or they could go unreported and lead to minor or major accidents and incidents occurring. Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (HIRA) is not about creating endless amounts of paperwork, but rather to identify, measures and control risks in the working environment. We strongly advise that the Health and Safety Representatives and senior management staff consider receiving training in Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (HIRA)!
Our Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (HIRA) course consists of the following core topics:
- Legal Requirements Pertaining to Conducting Continuous Risk Assessments – We discuss the Occupational Health & Safety Act laws which pertain to risk assessments, the difference between baseline, continuous, and issue-based risk assessments. We also look into the process of continuous risk assessments.
- The Importance of Conducting Risk Assessments – We discuss the need to and when to conduct a continuous risk assessment.
- Risk Assessment Documentation – We discuss various documentation used in risk assessments e.g. checklists, planned task observation forms, standard operating procedures, etc.
- Common hazards and Risks Encountered during a Continuous Risk Assessment – Here we discuss the most common risks and hazards that encountered in the workplace.
- Recording of Findings – It is important to know how to record findings of your risk assessment so that it can be clearly communicated to the Health & Safety Committee and the Employer.
Remedial- and Follow-Up Actions – Once hazards and risks have been identified and ranked, the employer then needs to act appropriately and implement measures and methods to improve the safety of the working environment by reducing, mitigating or eliminating the hazard.