Undertaking Risk Assessments A short guide!

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Remember that hazards are not risks, they are different things which many people confuse as the same.

Undertaking Risk Assessments A short guide!

Systematic approach to the management of hazards and associated risks.

The aim of the process is to minimise the likelihood of a risk to an acceptable level.

The risk management process includes:

  • Identification of the hazard (see last week’s newsletter)
  • Identification of the associated risk or risks

Assessment of the risk

  • the likelihood
  • the consequence

Control of the risk – using the hierarchy of control measures in order of preference

  • Elimination
  • Substitution
  • Isolation
  • Engineering controls
  • Administrative control (such as SOP’s or training)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Risk Identification

A couple of common risks:

  1. Hazard:Frayed wires on electrical items

Risk: Operator may receive electrical shocks or be electrocuted

  1. Hazard:Unguarded drums on a winch

Risk: A persons may have a body part drawn in and crushed

Risk assessment

First step is to evaluate the likelihood of an injury occurring. The second step is to the probable consequences. The two key factors for risk assessment are:

  1. The likely severity or impact of any injury/illness resulting from the hazard; and
  2. The probability or likelihood that the injury/illness will actually occur

A simple risk matrix that’s commonly used which cross references likelihood and impact enables risks to be assessed against these two factors and identified as one of the following:

  • a critical risk
  • a high risk
  • a moderate risk
  • a low risk
  • a very low risk

Please note that the risk assessments undertaken by Shorlink a more complex than the matrix above. we incorporate an “exposure” level as well. This adds another layer in the risk assessment process and makes it more real.

Risk control

Risk that are assessed and identified as Critical or High risks require urgent action which may include:

  • an instruction to cease work immediately
  • isolation of the hazard until permanent measures can be put in place

Risk Control Hierarchy

Elimination of the hazard is 100% effective but not always achievable

Substitution of the hazard: e.g., replacing solvent based printing inks with water based ones.

Isolation of hazard: e.g., isolating a piece of machinery where only trained workers have access.

Engineering controls: e.g., installation of guards on machinery.

Administrative controls: includes training and education

 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): includes safety glasses/goggles, hearing protection, etc.

Once you have your risk assessments in place remember to review them every three years or if new risks are identified, changes are made to procedures or new operations are started.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our top recommendation is that if like many businesses you find there are a lot of improvements that you could make both big and small don’t try to do everything at once. Make a plan of action to deal with the most important things first.

Secondly, be sure to document your plan of action and set realistic dates based on the level of severity.

Tip

A good tip for a plan of action includes a mixture of different things including but not limited to:

  • priority and quick action to hazards identified as high or critical risks
  • a few easy improvements that can be undertaken quickly as a temporary solution until more reliable controls are in place
  • long term solutions to those risk with the worst potential consequences or cause accidents or illness.

Always remember, if you need help with hazard identification or undertaking risk assessment simply contact or office as we are here to help YOU stay safe!