Workplace Health and Safety Risk Assessment
Organizations must manage their health and safety risks. In order to be able to manage health and safety risks an organization must first know what those risks are. Guessing or learning about risk from accidents is not very effective and is a very costly way to manage risks. A formal risk assessment process is really the only way to ensure that an organization has identified its risks. This exercise may not capture every possible risk, yet it establishes a good starting point from which to build on. The risk assessment process is never finished and is part of the continual improvement activities of an organizations health and safety management system.
Risk and Risk assessment has been defined as:
- Risk – a combination of the likelihood of the occurrence of a hazardous event and the severity of the harm caused by the event. (CSA Z1000-06)
- Risk – Combination of the likelihood and consequence(s) of a specified hazardous event occurring – Risk = Severity (Consequence) x Likelihood (Probability) (OHSAS 18001-07)
- Risk Assessment – The process of analyzing hazards and evaluating the level of risk they create (risk ranking).
Risk assessment has also been identified as a key activity for an organization to undertake in order to establish due diligence and meet some of its legislative requirements. Risk assessment will assist employers with the ability to demonstrate compliance to the following legal requirements:
- Employers/supervisors take every reasonable precaution for the protection of their employees/workers (General Duty).
- Employees/workers be advised/informed/acquainted/trained/instructed in relation to existing or potential hazards/dangers which they may be exposed to.
In summary every organization should undertake a formal risk assessment process which is ongoing and guides the organization to then establish control measures to eliminate or reduce the level of risk to the lowest practical level. It’s good business sense.