Performing a risk assessment can seem like a daunting task the first time you do it. But the good news is that you don't have to do the risk assessment by yourself. In fact involving the people who are doing the work that you are assessing will give you a much better idea of the real risks.
Details of a simple risk assessment procedure are shown below.
Simple Risk Assessment
Listed below are the five steps to risk assessment that are recommended by the HSE, with some additional comments by me.
1. Identify the hazards
Do not be tempted to try to complete a risk assessment from the comfort of your desk. Get out into the workplace and stand in the areas under consideration. To find a list of general workplace hazards CLICK HERE.
2. Decide who could be harmed and how they could be harmed
Think about who can access these areas.
3. Evaluate the risk and decide on control measures
Think about what the severity would be if the harm occurred and what is the likelihood of the harm occurring?
The table below is based on the simple risk estimator model shown in (the now withdrawn) BS 8800:2004
For varying degrees of likelihood and severity we can estimate the level of risk based on the tables above.
4. Record the assessment and implement the controlsTemplates for recording risk assessments can be downloaded from the HSE web site - http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/assessment.htm . If you have more than 5 employees then the significant findings of your risk assessments must be written down.
This step is the most important. If you want to improve health and safety at your company then go back and review the risk assessment properly - ask what could we do differently to improve what we are doing? Think about any incidents or accidents that have occurred in your company - could those same failings happen here? Involve the workforce in finding safer ways to carry out tasks.
Other Types of Risk Assessment
Qualitative and Quantitative Risk Assessments
There are many different types of risk assessment. The simple method show above is known as a qualitative assessment because it relies on subjective judgements made by the assessors.
Quantitave risk assessments can use numbers, generally based on accepted data sources, to determine the likelihood of events. This type of assessment is most often used in high hazard industries to assess risks that have very serious consequences.
Job Safety AnalysisJob Safety Analysis is another simple method that is very useful for manufacturing environments, where the risk assessment can be used to help write the operating instructions. The method is similar to the five steps method shown above. However, in this case the job is split into individual tasks. Each task is assessed individually and control measures noted for the best and safest way of completing each task. A typical recording sheet for this analysis is shown below:
For more information on Job Hazard Analysis follow the link to - https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3071.pdf
If you are still a little unsure about the difference between "hazard" and "risk", then CLICK HERE
Guidance on how to conduct a simple risk assessment can be found by following this link to the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg163.pdf
To return to the management system planning page CLICK HERE