Overview of Risk Assessment
Risk assessment involves identifying and evaluating the dangers faced by individuals engaged in a proposed developmental project, as well as nearby populations, in the event of natural and man-made hazards. This requires a thorough understanding of the likelihood of failure, potential accident scenarios, susceptibility of the population, and other factors. Consequently, risk analysis often focuses on the most plausible disaster scenario and examines the potential impacts of environmental risks on human health. By adhering to proper protocols, handling procedures, and training, the occurrence of such mishaps can be significantly reduced. However, achieving complete safety or eliminating all risks can be challenging. In such situations, immediate action must be taken to manage the situation and prevent loss of life and property damage. An assessment follows a comprehensive analysis of hazards and involves a systematic approach to identify, evaluate, mitigate, and control potential hazards arising from failures in processes, procedures, or equipment. The increasing number of industrial accidents, loss of life and property, public scrutiny, legal requirements, and complex industrial processes all contribute to the growing importance of conducting and implementing effective risk management.
Assessment Areas for identifying potential Risk
The following factors determine the objectives of the project:
- Identifying areas that may pose a potential risk to implement appropriate safety measures and minimise the chances of accidental incidents.
- Identifying stakeholders and assessing their level of risk while suggesting suitable control methods.
- Handling any emergencies or disasters that may occur during the operation of the facility.
Importance of Risk Assessment
- Increased Awareness of Workplace Risks - Foremost, this assessment process bring clarity to the identification, mitigation, or elimination of hazards and risks. This helps the EHS team understand the specific risks they need to be mindful of in their work environment.
- Employee Training - Conducting a thorough assessment of the potential risks ensures that all relevant staff members know the necessary procedures and guidelines for addressing workplace risks. Many organisations value using Staff Engagement software to provide interactive training that integrates health and safety awareness into day-to-day activities.
- Identification of Probability and Magnitude of Potential Risks - A comprehensive assessment of risk goes beyond listing hazards and risks. By utilising a risk matrix, companies can identify the most critical risks and assess their severity and likelihood of occurrence.
- Determining Required Actions - A successful risk assessment generates valuable data that helps identify the areas in the workplace that require the most attention. This enables the implementation of effective control measures to reduce risks.
- Proper Documentation - Documentation is essential for the creation of a repository for hazard findings. This promotes transparency within the company and assists in audits and compliance with legal safety measures. Compliance software can streamline the record-keeping process, making it easier to demonstrate regulatory compliance when necessary.
- Facilitating Budget Allocation - Conducting a risk assessment gives organisations a clearer understanding of the required health and safety budget going forward. Knowing the severity and likelihood of hazards allows for appropriate budget allocation to control or eliminate identified risks.
- Reduced Workplace Incidents - Ultimately, the primary benefit lies in minimising and, ideally, eliminating risks. The number of incidents can be significantly reduced by carefully evaluating the workplace and taking necessary actions. A lower incident rate demonstrates an organisation's commitment to the well-being of its employees, which is advantageous for customer support.
Requirement of the Assessment Process
The analysis of the assessment requires the following information:
- The manufacturer provides product details and documentation.
- Past job experiences, including knowledge from workers and other relevant sources.
- Compliance with legal requirements and applicable standards.
- Industry best practices and codes of conduct.
- Health and safety information related to hazards, such as safety data sheets (SDSs), research papers, or manufacturer-provided information.
- Data obtained from reputable organisations.
- Results from testing, including atmospheric or air workplace sampling, biological swabs, and similar measures.
- Expert knowledge in workplace health and safety.
- Records of previous injuries, illnesses, near misses, and incident reports.
- Observation of processes or tasks.
- Assessment of working conditions, including layout and overall condition.
- Evaluation of the work systems in place.
- Consideration of various potential outcomes.
- Understanding of how the source of risk can cause harm, such as through inhalation or ingestion.
- Assessment of the frequency and duration of exposure for individuals.
- Evaluation of the interaction, competence, skills, and experience of employees performing the task.
How Risk Assessment is Performed
Competent individuals or teams with a thorough understanding of the issue should always conduct assessments. It is important to involve supervisors as they are most familiar with the operation. In general, during an evaluation, the following steps should be taken:
- Identify potential hazards.
- Assess the likelihood and severity of harm, including accidents or illnesses.
- Consider regular operational conditions and unusual occurrences like maintenance, shutdowns, power outages, emergencies, severe weather, etc.
- Review all available health and safety information about the hazard, including Safety Data Sheets (SDS), manufacturer literature, input from reputable organisations, testing results, workplace inspection reports, and records of workplace incidents (accidents), including information on the type and frequency of occurrences, illnesses, injuries, near misses, etc.
- Understand the minimal legislative requirements in your jurisdiction.
- Determine the actions needed to eliminate or control the hazard using the risk control hierarchy.
- Assess to ensure the hazard has been eliminated or adequately controlled.
- Monitor the situation to ensure the control measures remain effective.
- Maintain proper documentation or records, including a description of the risk assessment process, details of any evaluations conducted, and an explanation of the conclusions reached.
Note -Maintaining records of the conducted assessments and implemented control actions is crucial. There may be a legal obligation to retain these evaluations for a specified period. During the assessment, the following factors should be considered:
- Actual and potential worker exposure (e.g., the number of workers exposed, the exposure level, and the exposure frequency).
- To control such exposure, engineering controls, work practices, hygiene measures and facilities are required.
- The duration and frequency of the task.
- The location where the work is performed.
- The machinery, tools, materials, etc., used in the process and how they are utilised (e.g., physical properties of chemicals, lifting heavy loads over a distance).
- Potential interactions with other activities in the area and whether the task may affect others (e.g., cleaners, visitors, etc.).
- The lifespan of the product, process, or service (e.g., design, construction, usage, decommissioning).
- The education and training received by personnel.
- Typical reactions and actions in specific circumstances (e.g., common response if a machine fails or malfunctions).
How can Enterclimate assist you?
With over a decade of expertise in licensing and compliance domains, our team of professionals is well-equipped to offer extensive support for your business's assessment process.
Expert Legal Guidance
Enterclimate offers comprehensive support for Assessment of potential environmental risk, including legal guidance, through a customisable package that can be tailored to meet our client's specific priorities and requirements.
Best in client Support
Our dedicated support team keeps our clients updated about the latest guidelines and updates from relevant government departments concerning Risk Assessments and their regular inspections.