How Often Should Hazards Be Reviewed | Hasmate H&S
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How Often Should Hazards Be Reviewed?

How Often Should Hazards Be Reviewed?

We are often asked, “How often should hazards be reviewed?”

First and foremost, the primary objective is to eliminate any actual and potential hazards in the workplace. In an ideal world, that would be great but being practical, the reality is that this does not happen so other control methods have to be in place to mitigate and control any risks of injury.

If an accident or reported near-miss was to occur, these types of events should alert you to:

  1. Take the necessary corrective action;
  2. To investigate the event; then
  3. To implement the required corrective action to mitigate or reduce the event from reoccurring.

And then to:

  1. Review the associated hazard register;
  2. Risk assess the hazard again for its post risk level and the effectiveness of the controls. Keep the rating process consistent, no matter what risk assessment method you use.
  3. Review the safe work method or safe operating procedure, and amend to improve the document. Also, consider the financial impact of the accident on the business.
  4. Notify and re-train your staff as required on any new procedures or changes.
  5. Monitor the effectiveness of the amendments to any process.

Alerts and Follow-Up

If your business is operating an online software solution like Hasmate to manage your health and safety systems, they will provide you with an alerting or reviewing system for your hazard register.  In the Hasmate program, there is a “Next Review Date” field for you to add a date, which will let you know when this review is nearing due.

For more information about how to add a hazard to the Hasmate program, click here.

Pre and Post Testing

So how often should hazards be reviewed?

I would recommend that you prioritize your high level list of hazards (As or Bs if you’re using the Hasmate program), and to review these every 3-6 months.  Check the efficiency of the controls, and if required, implement more stringent controls to further mitigate or to eliminate the level of risk of harm.

There is no requirement of a timeframe to check the hazard register, but I would recommend all other hazards (regardless of risk level) to be checked for effectiveness and re-risk rated every 12 months.

Remember, as a PCBU, your responsibility is to eliminate the risks as far as practicable.

Recording and Records

They say that a lawyer never goes to court with an empty briefcase, so neither should you.

In the past 12 months, there have been a number of WorkSafe prosecutions that have identified that even though a business has a health and safety plan in place, there has been nil or no ongoing management of the plan, for suitability to the business for various reasons.  This is why businesses come unstuck. No records of reviews = no evidence to defend themselves. Your health and safety records should be kept for a minimum of 5 years, and in some cases, up to 30 years. It does not matter in what format, as long as they can be identified, stored, and retrieved easily to mitigate the risk of being taken to account for an incident.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss this further.