The 5 easy steps to risk assessment

* What is risk assessment and why is it important?

safety briefing

Every employer is required to assess risk in their organizations and this has been mandated as a legal requirement in most of the countries today. A risk assessment is required to be done to ensure that all workplace hazards and risks to the employees and data have been identified and enough precautions have been implemented to safeguard them. SHEQ programs on WSH training are based on the same philosophy and help you in smooth identification of the risks in any work area.

* How to assess risk?

There are no defined and set rules for assessing risks in your organization however there do exist general guidelines and checkpoints which can help you identify the risks in you organization.

1. Identifying hazards – Risks is a working environment can be present in the form of mental, physical, chemical or biological. Employers in their capacity should be able to identify these and put relevant measures in place. Following are some examples of risks:

o Mental – (e.g.) extended working hours, increased workload, working with clients with stringent timelines.

o Physical – (e.g.) slipping, noise, dust, incorrect postures, sitting in front of computer for long hours.

o Chemical – (e.g.) Aerosols, asbestos and cleaning fluids.

o Biological – (e.g.) communicable diseases, hepatitis and tuberculosis

2. Identify who can get harmed – All employees (part-time or full-time), contractors, agency staff, clients and visitors are covered when identifying the impact of risk. Risk identification must also be done for their disabled staff, night workers, pregnant women and women who are breast feeding. Review of everything across all locations is done to ensure that everyone in the premises is safe. Following is an example:

o In a call center, employees can be exposed to risks such as working equipment and constant call on headphones.

3. Risk assessment and action to be implemented – Once the hazards have been identified, employers must find the risks that they individually pose. This will help determine if a plan needs to be put in place to reduce and address them. There are certain risks which continue to exist even after the precautions have been implemented. In such a case, employers must identify the risk levels of these hazards.

4. Recording risks – As defined under the law, employers are required to record (in writing) all findings of risk assessment. Record will typically include the hazard details which pose risk and the action that the employer has taken to eliminate or reduce its risk levels. These records are a proof that the employer has due diligence in the assessment and reviewed everything thoroughly.

5. Assessment review and regular updates – The final report of risk assessment must be reviewed to ensure that the working conditions meet the agreed safety benchmarks and in case of any changes, the revised practices are updated in the report.

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