What is the Purpose of a Risk Assessment

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It is the responsibility of every employer to conduct a risk assessment in the workplace on a regular basis to protect the employees from any harm or injury. Risk assessment is a thorough process of identifying, documenting and eliminating or reducing hazards in a work environment. Know in detail the purpose of a risk assessment and its importance from this blog.

Risk Assessment

What are Hazards, Risks and Controls?

Hazard– A hazard is the potential source of harm, injury or adverse health effect on people. Some examples of hazards in the workplace are work materials, equipment, harmful agents such as chemicals, noise or vibration.

Risk– A risk is the likelihood of harm or injury to anyone resulting from the hazard. When considering risk, the number of people at risk from the hazard should also be taken into consideration.

Controls- Control measures or controls are the precautions taken to ensure that a hazard will not cause harm or injury to anyone. When putting a control measure, beware that it does not create any additional hazard.

Risk Management

Risk and Crisis Management

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How to Recognise Risks

The most common way to recognise potential future risks in any workplace is to look into the past, starting with the lessons learned. The previous records of accidents would help you identify the precautions that may not have been considered during the previous project planning but affected the outcome of that project.

Another way of identifying risk is through instruction manuals of equipment used in the workplace that can indicate any risks involved in working with the machines.

The simplest way of recognising risks among all these is walking around the workplace to find out any processes, activities, or substances that may cause harm to employees. 

There would always be some unforeseen conditions and design errors despite the best laid plans in any organisation. Under such a condition, take actions to prevent harm and risks, such as providing protective equipment to employees and contractors, using less risky equipment, and so on.

Risk Assessment

How to Prioritise Risks

Risk prioritisation is a key component of a risk management program and becomes necessary when several risks are at the same level, but the resources are limited. While prioritising risks, decision-makers should be able to obtain the answers to the following questions:

The level of risk is often categorised according to the potential harm that the hazard may cause, the number of persons exposed and the number of times persons are exposed to the hazard.

For example, exposure to any airborne materials or fibres will always be classified as high because a single exposure may cause fatal lung disease. In contrast, the risk associated with using a display screen could be considered to be very low as the health effects are minimal.

What is a Risk Assessment?

Risk assessment is the process of identifying potential hazards and evaluating associated risks within a workplace and then undertaking preventive measures to avoid the risk and ensure workers’ safety from workplace hazards.

Risk Assessment

What is the Purpose of a Risk Assessment?

1.  Identifying risks and hazards:

The purpose of a risk assessment is to look at the systems and processes closely and identify potential issues that otherwise wouldn’t be identified. This identification of risks and hazards is the first step towards implementing control measures. 

Through risk assessment, you can assess who is at risk and how they are at risk in a process. 

2.  Emergency planning: A risk assessment looks at the likelihood of emergencies occurring, and then it allows to plan routes, meeting points and communication methods. Due to risk assessment, responsible personnel are appointed to carry out the procedures and measure the success of an evacuation or emergency plan.

3.  Prevention of occupational risks: 

The process of risk assessment prevents occupational risks by recognising hazards like faulty equipment, a spill of chemicals etc., in the workplace and adopting precautions. The potential risks and hazards are identified so that those can be eliminated and in cases where elimination is not possible, preventive measures can be undertaken.

4.  Ensuring a safe environment for employees: 

As risk assessments aim to identify the potential hazards in the workplace, it also provides necessary preventive measures to eliminate or minimise the hazards and risks. This ensures the workplace health and safety of employees working for any organisation.

5.  Reviewing the preventive measures:

Risk assessment provides an opportunity to review the existing safety protocols and update if necessary. There might be changes in the office environment like new employees’ recruitment and new equipment’s arrival requiring additional safety measures and training. All these happen when risk assessments are reviewed.

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Why are Risk Assessments Important?

It is very important to conduct risk assessments in the workplace as it helps to determine whether the existing control measures are adequate or needs to be updated. Risk assessment can control and minimise employees’ life risks and save any industry from unwanted damage.

It is a legal requirement for employers to ensure the documentation of the risk assessment wherever five or more people are employed.

In the absence of risk assessment, any business might face financial loss due to property damage, reduced production, or fines and civil actions. Industries also face negative publicity when workers are injured due to a lack of awareness of the employers.

Conclusion

Risk assessments play a crucial role in ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone within the workplace. Both the employer and employees should acknowledge the importance of risk assessments and conduct the assessment whenever needed. 

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