There are two answers to this question. First of all, creating safety culture within all aspects of the Australian workforce is the purpose of risk assessment. So by keeping records of completed risk assessments you have documents to refer back to for help with future health and safety tasks. This is useful for normalising a culture of workplace safety. The second reason for keeping risk assessment records is far more pragmatic.
The Work Health and Safety Act outlines the responsibilities duty holders have in creating and maintaining a safe workplace. Keeping records of risk assessments indicates potential compliance with these laws and can help ensure businesses do not get stung with hefty penalties.
Keeping records of the risk management process has many benefits. These include:
- Demonstrates to customers, clients, regulators and other business associates that health risks at work are being managed effectively
- A risk assessment review can be conducted more easily, resulting in greater business flexibility should OHS laws and regulations change
- Provides a base for preparing future safe operating procedures
- Allows more effective risk assessment training based on targeted goals
- Demonstrates how a person conducting a business of undertaking (PCBU) made risk management decisions
When keeping records of risk assessments, it’s useful to make special note of information like:
- Possible changes to either work practices or the workplace in general
- Any risk assessment training courses undertaken
- The parties that were consulted with during the risk management process
- When and how the risk assessment was implemented and reviewed
- The hazards and risks identified and the selected control methods
- Any complementary risk assessment forms including safety checklists, worksheets and risk assessment matrices
The scale and depth of maintaining risk assessment records may vary according to the size and nature of a business. In regards to a construction site risk assessment, there are certain requirements for how long risk assessments should be kept. Depending on the jurisdiction, risk assessment should be kept between five to seven years after a dangerous incident has taken place. Unless an incident has taken place, there is no minimum time period PCBU’s are required to keep records for but the practice is recommended nonetheless.
PCBU’s must also ensure all employees are aware of record keeping requirements including their locations and how to access them. For more information on record keeping for risk assessments read Safe Work Australia’s code of practice. Alternative you can read the SafeWorkPro Blog for answers to more basic risk assessment questions.