A risk assessment is a methodical procedure for detecting hazards and assessing any associated risks in the workplace before putting into place feasible control measures to get rid of or minimize them.
There is a long history behind the idea of risk and risk assessments. The Athenians contributed their ability to evaluate risk before making judgments more than 2400 years ago (Bernstein, 1996). However, the scientific study of risk assessment and risk management is still very new, having only existed for 30 to 40 years.
When is risk assessment done?
Risk Assessment should be done before the performance of a certain action or activity to eliminate, mitigate, or effectively control any related risk to the health, safety, and well-being of those involved in (or affected by) the task or activity in question. When a risk assessment is finished, it should be revisited regularly (proportionate to the level of risk involved) and whenever the assessment is no longer accurate or if there have been major changes to the particular job or activity. Following an accident, incident, or occurrence of ill health, pertinent risk assessments should be examined to see whether the control measures and level of evaluated risk were suitable or needed modification.
How is Risk Assessment done?
Step one is to identify potential hazards. Looking around the workplace for behaviors, tasks, procedures, or materials that might be harmful to staff. Reviewing previous accident and illness records since they may reveal less evident hazards. Examining the data sheets, guidelines, directions, and advice provided by manufacturers. Employees (and others) who are doing the activities, tasks, or procedures should be consulted. These all come under step one.
Step two is to identify who will be affected by the hazard if it happens. These include employers, contractors, and other staff. Specific populations, including youngsters, teenagers, new or expecting moms, new employees, home workers, and lone workers, may be more vulnerable to certain hazards.
Evaluating the severity of the risk and preparing documents comes under step three. After identifying any dangers and potential victims, it's crucial to assess the potential severity of the risk (should it materialize) and put in place acceptable and efficient measures to lower it as far as is "reasonably practical." These factors include details of the severity of attacks, the number of people that can be harmed, the availability of measures that can control the risk assessment, and costs that should be present, which can be used at times of hazard if it happens.
Step four is to implement changes and record findings. Any workplace with five or more employees must keep written or electronic records of significant risk assessment findings. A simple technique to keep track of hazards and the controls used to lower recognized risks is to record findings on a risk assessment form.
Step five is to review the assessment and reassess it if needed. Employers should examine the evaluation on a regular basis and, if necessary, reevaluate any measures already in place.
Who does risk assessment?
The risk assessment at work must be completed by the employer (or self-employed person), or it must be delegated to someone who has the requisite training, expertise, and experience. If the appropriate individuals are included in the risk assessment process at every level, the communication process can be accomplished more successfully. The person performing an activity or task is frequently in the best position to provide information on the dangers and risks involved, and they should take an active role in the completion of the risk assessment.
Uses of Proper Risk Assessment
The main management tool in efficient risk management is doing adequate and relevant risk assessments. Everywhere five or more persons are employed, it is legally required that the employment be documented.
Risk evaluations enable the mitigation of occupational dangers. Risk assessments give employees, co-workers, and customers information that otherwise would not have been shared around the office. This is because risk assessments identify risks and inform people about how these risks have been successfully handled to ensure people are safe at work. Individuals in the workplace will be able to receive extensive instruction and training in their workplace's health and safety protocols thanks to risk assessment training.
Risk analyses will ultimately assist a company in adhering to health and safety regulations. Risk assessments will foster a culture of health and safety compliance by highlighting the company's dedication to protection and safety. This will then send a signal to workers and clients to adhere to and uphold this health and safety standard.
What if Risk Assessment is not done?
The consequences of failing to conduct a risk assessment may be very serious. For instance, the employer will be held liable if an employee suffers an injury at work as a result of handling a dangerous chemical substance without the appropriate protective gear. Fines for negligence could be imposed on the employer, which could be devastating.
Therefore, it is always a good idea to train workers in risk assessments and management to avoid serious consequences.