How to conduct a risk assessment
Firstly, gather as much information as you possibly can about your workplace.
Chat to employees about their work functions and get any documents that'll help you with your risk assessment. For example, a production process flow diagram for the work area to identify all the tasks that contributes to the process flow.
You should also question and interview people about their work and the hazards in their work area (if any).
What is a hazard?
A hazard is any source of harm that can create a risk to people, property, or the environment. For example, flammable chemicals and gases are hazards to both you and the environment.
It can cause harm to your employees if used incorrectly and harm to the environment if they aren't disposed of properly.
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You've identified the hazards, now what?
When you've identified all the hazards in your workplace, you then have to identify the risks involved with each hazard.
A risk is the probability or likelihood of something happening that could result in harm to people, property, processes or the environment.
Chemicals are a potential hazard. They create :
A fire risk;
A health risk; and
A pollution risk.
Once you've identified all the risks related to each hazard, categorise the risks into safety, health and environmental risks.
You must then 'rate' the risk according to the situation. For example, a toxic substance poses a low risk when used under controlled circumstances.
The same hazard can pose a much higher risk in an emergency than under normal use. For example, a toxic substance poses a low risk when used under controlled circumstances but can cause a major catastrophe if accidentally released in bulk.
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Identify then quantify
Before you make a decision about what precautionary measures to implement, quantify the risks.
This basically means classifying how big or small a risk the hazard poses to your business. This will help you to identify the high risks and give you an indication of where you should target your resources first.
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Now you can identify any risks that your company poses to your workplace and the environment.
Until next time,
Managing Editor: Health and Safety Advisor
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