A risk assessment is just a careful
examination of anything which may cause harm to anyone during the course of
work. Once this is completed, you can completely protect your employees or
minimize the weight of the occurrence. The ultimate goal is to avoid accident
and illness. It is performed by identifying risk using suitable control
measures to minimalize or eliminate the risk. Risk Assessment of all activities
is required by Law.
A real or potential condition, situation, or
agent that could cause immediate or long-term harm to people or an
organization; damage or loss of a system, equipment, property, or the
environment, or other things of value. For an instance, Oil (bottled) are
generally harmless but even they are considered as hazards at situations. There
is always a “what if” condition. What if they are dropped and spilled over on
the floor. On the other hand, Electricity is a hazard; whereas properly
contained it is safe.
Following are the general categorization of hazards:
Physical: e.g. lifting, awkward postures, slips and
trips, noise, dust, machinery, computer equipment, etc.
Mental: e.g. excess workload, long hours, working with
high-need clients, bullying, etc. These are also called ‘psychosocial’ hazards,
affecting mental health and occurring within working relationships.
Chemical: e.g. asbestos, cleaning fluids, aerosols,
Biological: including tuberculosis, hepatitis and
other infectious diseases faced by healthcare workers, home care staff and
other healthcare professionals.
Decide who might be harmed
who is at risk starts with your organization’s own full- and part-time
employees. Employers should conduct evaluations on the risks experienced by
agency and contract staff, visitors, clients and other members of the public on
Assess the Risks
The risk is
basically the probability of any occurrence which may lead or trigger hazard.
What if an Oil bottle is dropped? It will create a risk that someone could get
hurt. How can we minimalize this? Using an appropriate control measure.
Assessment means employers have a knowledge on how likely it is that each
hazard could cause harm. This will define whether or not your employer should
reduce the level of risk. Mostly, there will be some risks even after
implementing all the precautions. Employers must categorize each remaining
hazard whether they are high, medium or low.
record of the findings
Employers with five or more staff needed to
materialize the main findings of the risk assessment. This record should
include details of any hazards noted in the risk assessment, and action taken
to reduce or eliminate risk.
This record provides proof that the assessment
was carried out, and is used as the basis for a later review of working
practices. The risk assessment is a working document. You should be able to
read it. It should not be locked away in a cupboard.
assessment must be kept under review in order to:
that decided safe working practices continue to be applied (e.g. that company’s
safety instructions are respected and followed by supervisors and line
of any new working practices, new machinery or more demanding work targets.
It is the accountability of the line managers
and direct reports to confirm that those carrying out the work are instructed
and trained to do so using the control measures recognized in the risk
assessment. They should directly supervise those with the least knowledge until
they are deemed to be capable to carry out the work unsupervised. Those
carrying out the work must co-operate with their direct reports by following
the directions they have been given.
2. Risk management
management is defined as the action of identify and
prioritizing risks in the workplace, followed by making changes to
minimize and reduce these risks. All businesses, regardless
of their structure or size, must have work health and safety risk assessment
that is current and meets legal obligations. Risk management plan should
identify risks in business. The plan will describe ways to minimise the
likelihood of an incident by including ‘controls’ – measures to either prevent
or manage hazards. Make sure risk management plan more effective, employer need
to monitor the risks and review and update the plan regularly. A strong risk
management plan, as part of a larger business continuity plan,
will improve workplace resilience and help employer to recover from incidents.
Risks and hazards
hazard is something with the potential to cause harm. A risk is the likelihood
that the harm will occur from exposure to the hazard. For example, if employer
have identified electricity as a potential hazard in employer workplace, the
risk is the likelihood that an employee might be electrocuted because of
exposure to electrical wires that are inadequately insulated.
Workplace hazards involving the risks of illness or injury may include,
and substances hazards – such as hazardous substances and dangerous goods, asbestos, lead and waste management
hazards and infectious diseases – such as legionella and hendra virus
hazards – such as equipment, confined spaces, electrical hazards and working at heights
tasks hazards – such as the use of the human body to perform any kind
of manual task
hazards – such as noise, lighting, surrounding environment
(including uneven floor surfaces, etc.), cold, dust and heat stress
hazards – such as fatigue, work-related stress, workplace harassment
and occupational violence.
Effective risk management starts
with a commitment to health and safety from those who operate and manage the business
or undertaking. Employer also need the involvement and cooperation of his
workers, and if employer show his workers that is serious about health and
safety they are more likely to follow employer lead.
To demonstrate employer’s
commitment, employer should:
· Get involved in health
and safety issues
· Invest time and money in
health and safety
· Ensure health and safety
responsibilities are clearly understood.
A step-by-step process a safe and healthy workplace does not happen by
chance or guesswork. Employer has to think about what could go wrong at his
workplace and what the consequences could be. Then employer must do whatever he
can (in other words, whatever is ‘reasonably practicable’) to eliminate or
minimise health and safety risks arising from employer business or undertaking.
This process is known as risk management and involves the four steps set
out in this Code
hazards – find out what could cause harm
risks – understand the nature of the harm that could be caused by the hazard,
how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of it happening
risks – implement the most effective control measure that is reasonably
practicable in the circumstances
control measures to ensure they are working as planned.
Identifying hazards in the
workplace involves finding things and situations that could potentially cause
harm to people. Hazards generally arise from the following aspects of work and
· Physical work environment
· Equipment, materials and
· Work tasks and how they
· Work design and
to find hazards
Inspect the workplace
Regularly walking around the
workplace and observing how things are done can help employer predict what
could or might go wrong. Look at how people actually work, how plant and
equipment is used, what chemicals are around and what they are used for, what
safe or unsafe work practices exist as well as the general state of
Things to look out for include the
· Does the work environment
enable workers to carry out work without risks to health and safety (for
example, space for unobstructed movement, adequate ventilation, and lighting)?
· How suitable are the
tools and equipment for the task and how well are they maintained?
· Have any changes occurred
in the workplace which may affect health and safety?
A risk assessment involves
considering what could happen if someone is exposed to a hazard and the
likelihood of it happening. A risk assessment can help employer to determine:
· How severe a risk is
· Whether any existing
control measures are effective
· What action employer
should take to control the risk
· How urgently the action
needs to be taken.
to control risks
The most important step in managing
risks involves eliminating them so far as is reasonably practicable, or if that
is not possible, minimising the risks so far as is reasonably practicable. In
deciding how to control risks employer must consult his workers and their
representatives who will be directly affected by this decision. Their
experience will help him to choose appropriate control measures and their
involvement will increase the level of acceptance of any changes that may be
needed to the way they do their job. There are many ways to control risks. Some
control measures are more effective than others. employer must consider various
control options and choose the control that most effectively eliminates the
hazard or minimises the risk in the circumstances. This may involve a single
control measure or a combination of different controls that together provide
the highest level of protection that is reasonably practicable.
to Review controls
The control measures that employer
put in place should be reviewed regularly to make sure they work as planned.
Don’t wait until something goes wrong. There are certain situations where
employer must review his control measures under the Regulations and, if
necessary, revise them. A review is required:
When the control measure is not effective in
controlling the risk
Before a change at the workplace that is likely
to give rise to a new or different health and safety risk that the control
measure may not effectively control
If a new hazard or risk is identified
Employer may use the same methods
as in the initial hazard identification step to check controls. Consult
employer’s workers and their health and safety representatives and consider the
Are the control measures working effectively in
both their design and operation?
Have the control measures introduced new problems?
Have all hazards been identified?
Have new work methods, new equipment or
chemicals made the job safer?
Are safety procedures being followed?