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You've completed your risk assessment - now avoid these three mistakes when putting your safety measures in place

by , 06 February 2015
The point of a risk assessment is to help you identify the risks in your company and choose appropriate safety measures to counter this.

But all too often, safety officers put ineffective safety measures in place because they make simple mistakes.

If this happens to you, you just wasted your time doing a risk assessment.

Here are the three common mistakes you must avoid when putting your safety measures in place...

Never make these three errors when you put your safety measures in place

Mistake #1: You don't analyse risks
The Health & Safety Advisor says you need to identify the hazards that make up 80% of your risk and prioritise these for action. You then need to analyse these risks and divide them into categories.
Your categories could include:
  • The risk that's easiest to eliminate or reduce and will give a quick but effective 'win' in risk reduction.
  • Risks that need further investigation to see which other risks control measures you must implement.
  • Risks that may be difficult or impossible to remove but could be controlled better.
If you don't analyse risks before putting your safety measures in place, you could, for example, deal with the less important risks first. And while you do this, the risks that need urgent attention or have legal implications could harm your employees. So analyse your risk so you can deal with them in the order of priority.
And remember, 'you must always aim to eliminate a hazard, which is the most effective control. If this is not possible, you must minimise the risk by working through the other alternatives,' says safework.sa.gov.au.

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Mistake #2: You don't check for additional hazards before you implement risk controls
Before you implement a risk control measure, check for any additional hazards it may lead to.
For example, you decide it's best to lock emergency exists so there's no security risk. While this may reduce the risk of theft or unauthorised access, it increases the risk of people not being able to get out safely if there's an emergency.
Mistake #3: You don't have a plan to monitor risk control measures
There's no point in implementing risk controls if you don't monitor them. It defeats the whole purpose of risk management.
You need to have an action plan with times frames. It must explain how you'll implement and monitor your safety measures.
You also need to:
  • Make it clear that you'll hold the person who must implement the measures accountable;
  • Update your procedures to reflect the new risk control measures; and
  • Train all employees on the new risk control measures.
Don't let all the hard work you did during the risk assessment go to waste. Avoid these mistakes when putting your safety measures in place.
PS: For more mistakes to avoid, check out the Health & Safety Advisor.

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