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Tips for a good risk assessment

Risk assessments have been a legal compliance issue for decades now. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Here are some basic tips for good risk assessments. For further advice or support, or training, contact us today and see how KSH Safety Services can help you.

  • Identify all significant hazards. Try to think outside the box – not only the tasks but what else could happen around the activity, as a result of the activity.

  • When identifying hazards, think about previous accidents, near misses and incidents, about how people work, and watch for short cuts that people take in tasks and procedures. These behaviours can influence the risk level of hazards. Also, think of the capabilities of the people doing the tasks.

  • Make sure all activities that may affect the health and safety of employees and others in the vicinity are covered.

  • Remember to include the infrastructure, equipment and materials provided by the organisation and others in the assessment.

  • Include any planned changes to procedures, personnel, or the law. Also include any legal obligations.

  • Make sure that the assessments take into account the design of work areas, processes, installations, machinery and other equipment, and adaptations to human capabilities.

  • Gather information from various sources – including, for example, the location, those doing the job, suppliers / manufacturer’s information, procedures, , other agencies and interested parties.

  • Only complete risk assessments for activities that you fully understand. If unsure, do the assessment with someone who knows the job well.

  • Make sure you look at what other tasks that are taking place in the vicinity at the same time – how does your activity affect theirs and vice versa.

  • Make reference to other risk assessments, work instructions, method statements and control measures.

  • Make sure you cover environmental conditions such as weather (including adverse hot / cold / wet / icy weather), lighting, noise, humidity, temperature, wind speed, as applicable.

  • If there is a way that safety guards can fail or be removed, these should be mentioned.

  • If any special arrangements for first aid or fire are needed, they should be added.

  • Are there any issues that will affect vulnerable groups, such as disabled, young, pregnant or nursing mothers, the elderly, etc.?

  • Make sure that when identifying control measures, you use the hierarchy of controls. This means you should try to control the risk in the following order:

  • Elimination – remove the hazard entirely

  • Substitution – replace the hazard with something less harmful

  • Engineering controls – isolate people from the hazard

  • Administrative Controls – change the way people work

  • PPE – protect the worker with personal protective equipment

  • Make sure all additional controls are recorded and implemented.

  • Monitor and review the risk assessment, and ensure a responsible competent person is in charge of it.

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