The process of detecting potential hazards in a location and evaluating the risks that may occur as a result of such hazard(s) is referred to as “risk assessment“. Simply put, “risk assessment” means identifying “probabilities, dangers, and consequence(s). A hazard is defined as something that has the potential to harm people or the environment. Leaving such hazards ignored or unattended could lead to unpleasant and dangerous outcomes.
Risk assessment is a crucial aspect of any workplace health and safety management strategy. A proper assessment based on probability, dangers, environmental factors, previous accidents, mishaps, incidences, and other factors could help to prevent future injuries, illnesses, and accidents.
The above-mentioned issues can be efficiently addressed by a domain expert in the field of safety (a safety professional). A safety expert can effectively lead the team in a healthy and safe manner, all the while ensuring the safety of the workplace. When a safety professional conducts a ‘Covid -19 risk assessment,’ for example, they will check for environmental conditions, employee practices, and other elements to identify hazards. They’ll also figure out who those hazards will effect, such as employees, clients, visitors, mediators, and so on.
Purpose of Risk Assessment:
The fundamental purpose of “risk assessment” is to identify, evaluate, decrease, or eliminate hazards and risks in order to safeguard people and the environment. A risk assessment is documented, revised, and saved for management approval in order to make further efforts to remove or minimise such dangers based on the opinion, experience, previous accidents, occurrences, and so on. Thus, ‘risk assessment’ helps in keeping people and environment safe.
Importance of risk assessment:
Undertaking risk assessments would assist safety experts in protecting employees, customers, and the public who have had direct relationships with the firm. Any employee, regardless of their position, has the responsibility to report any safe threats, dangers, or near misses that they encounter. On the other side, a failure to recognise threats can lead to a high rate of disease, injuries, and accidents, as well as fatality. Most significantly, a threat might be individual or collective, thus even a single person’s awareness of a workplace hazard can save a lot of lives.
Risk assessment can be aided by a thorough investigation of your firm, which includes looking at employee work patterns, machinery, and other environmental factors. Technology, for example, has made our lives easier and allowed us to save the majority of our time, but it also has certain drawbacks. Machines, which are thought to be the most important aspect of technological advancement, may also result in death, in addition to injuries and accidents, if they are handled incorrectly or if there is a flaw in them.
As previously stated, identifying hazards is an important part of risk assessment. Identifying the risks associated with handling machinery and implementing safety procedures based on the risk assessment will assist in this regard. The above example of employees being prepared to use machinery in a safer manner, helps us to understand why risk assessment is so important.
A safety professional would keep track of his inspection and findings on hazards, which would aid them in gaining management approval and then implementing the solutions to the problems they identified. Thus, the improvement of an organisation can be aided by creating a list of hazards, prioritising them according to their severity (high, medium, and low), assessing risks, and preventing them.
Risk assessment: steps involved
As we all know, the word “risk assessment” is important for hazard prevention. The structure of the ‘risk assessment’ technique is as follows. In general, risk assessment involves five processes, each of which is mentioned below with a brief description.
Identifying hazards (Step 1):
The first and most important stage in a ‘risk assessment‘ is to evaluate ‘chances,’ ‘risks,’ and hazards in an environment based on a variety of factors that might make a situation unsafe or cause illness, injury, or other problems. Inspection of the workplace on a regular basis, as well as the collection of photographs, documents, and comments from workers on any dangers observed, would yield better outcomes.
Aside from common risks such as electricity, water, slips, trips, and falls, there are certain uncommon hazards that most organisations and industries face, as each company and industry is different from others. A thorough analysis based on the workplace, nature of work, and other factors will aid in filling in the gaps in this first step.
Analyse who will be harmed and how (Step 2):
Following the discovery of such hazards, the next stage is to assess the risks and damage, as well as to determine who or what might be hurt and how they might be harmed. This stage aids in the structure of hazard prevention or control measures.
Evaluating risks and deciding to implement control or preventive measures (Step 3):
The third phase of risk assessment involves determining how likely or serious the risks, possibilities, and damage are, as well as how much they are likely to impact as a result of those risks and damages. This evaluation determines hazard priority (major hazard that could prove fatal, dangers that could result in serious or minor injury, likely to result in injury).Things that were most likely to be dangerous were given top priority. After the evaluation phase is completed, preventive and control actions are implemented, such as a safety professional establishing control mechanisms or processes to eliminate identified hazards. In a nutshell, this process comprises assessing, making accurate decisions, planning, and resolving problems.
Record your findings (Step 4):
The three processes above, which include hazard identification, analysis, and evaluation, as well as deciding and implementing preventive and control measures to minimise or lessen the risks identified, should all be documented. Apart from that, it should include information such as who conducted the risk assessment, when it was finished, the time it took to complete these processes, and things such as materials, tasks, locations, tools, and people included in this simple step. Most importantly, any changes to the risk assessment must be notified to all people involved and documented for future reference.
Review and revise (Step 5):
This is the last phase in the risk assessment process. As new tools, processes, personnel, and challenges emerge in any workplace, it is necessary to review and revise risk assessments on a regular basis to ensure a safe workplace. To avoid any new threats, risk assessments must be reviewed and revised on a regular basis. Also, if a new accident, injury, or other occurrence happens, a review and revision of the previous risk assessment is required.
Risk Assessment types:
There are four levels of risk assessment: high, medium, low, and extremely low. This categorization stage is more essential in risk assessment because prioritization is done based on these classifications. For example, if a machine tool appears to be hazardous and requires quick repair, it must be repaired first, and so it falls under the ‘highly hazardous’ category.
A ‘near miss’ is also included in this ‘risk assessment,’ and it could fall into any of these risk categories. It should also be taken into account while evaluating risk factors.
Advantages of Risk assessment:
- Safety specialists will assist you to improve your risk assessment abilities
- Will help learners understand the importance of risk assessment and how to use it in the workplace
- Assists in determining the hazard possibilities.
- Reduces or eliminates illness, injuries, and accidents
- Employees, employers, investors, the public, etc. will not be affected by any of organizational activities or organization members.
- Helps to carry out work in an organization without delay or distraction
- A thought of lack of hazards would give confidence to employees
- There would be higher production if there were fewer/no health and safety risks
- Helps in keeping up the company’s reputation high
- Will indirectly help in compliance with the law
- Will help in saving lives
Who needs Risk assessment the most?
Managers – Operations, Safety and Executive
Engineers – Process, Safety and Mechanical
Environmental Management and Technicians
How NIST helps?
NIST is India’s first NEBOSH Gold Learning Partner and an ISO: 9001 Certified Company. We offer Risk Assessment (HIRA) Bespoke training for Corporates. As an outcome of this training, delegates would understand hazards and how to identify, classify, and control them before they (hazards) hurt others. Also, this training (Risk Assessment HIRA) will make them understand the hierarchy and benefits of risk control and the legal requirements surrounding it, thereby making their work place safer.
For further details regarding the training, you can contact us @ +91 8056000530 or mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org