We specialise in safety risk assessment in Melbourne and around Australia. Please contact us to learn how we can assist your workplace
1300 845 443
Risk Management Applications:
- Process (e.g. loading a truck)
- Plant (e.g. forklift)
- Equipment (e.g. powered drill)
- Material (e.g. chemical)
- Work Environment (e.g design of a warehouse)
The management of risk is the foundation of safety. Risk management is a prospective evaluation of hazards, assessment of the risk, control of the risk and the monitoring and review of the risk. The process of risk management is often incorrectly described as a risk assessment. Risk assessment is a step in the risk management process which aims to assess the risk based on the frequency, severity and the nature of the hazard and risk. Risk management is a legal obligation for employers, manufacturers, suppliers, designers of buildings and is embedded in all jurisdictions in Australia. Workplaces can be a dynamic environment with a multitude of hazards and risks. The management of hazards and risks is critical to preventing harm and ensuring your workplace is safe. We specialise in safety risk management in Melbourne and around Australia. Safetygap’s consultants are experienced in identifying hazards, assessing risks and recommending effective controls to manage the risk.
What is a hazard?
Hazards and risks are often used interchangeably, however they are very different terms. A hazard can simply be defined as an agent which has the potential to cause harm. Hazards can occur in a variety of forms which include:
- Physical (eg. liquid spill, broken glass)
- Biological (eg. bacteria, excrement)
- Chemical (eg. hydrochloric acid)
- Psychological (eg. fatigue, stress)
- Mechanical (eg. forklift, motor vehicle)
- Ergonomic (eg. awkward postures, repetitive movements)
- Environmental (eg. working in extreme temperatures)
What is a risk?
Risk can simply be defined as an adverse event that can occur due to an exposure to harm. For a risk to exist, there must be a hazard and an exposure to that hazard, this can be viewed as a triangle. For example, in the case of a liquid spill the risk would not exist until a person was exposed to the liquid spill. Once exposure occurs, the risk would be created. The risk or adverse event that can occur, could be a pedestrian slipping on the liquid spill and falling down. Another risk could be a forklift losing traction resulting in a collision. Risk can exist despite the unlikely probability of a risk eventuating. Once a risk manifests it is defined as an incident.
Safety Risk Assessment
Assessment of the risk is an essential component of risk management. In this stage we evaluate the frequency and severity of the risk occurring, with consideration of the nature of the hazard and risk. During this stage quantitative data should be utilised as much as possible in assessing the risk and determining the risk rating. For example, when assessing the risk of a pedestrian slipping on a liquid spill, the following factors should be considered:
- The surface area of the spill
- The location of the spill
- The frequency and duration of the spill
- The number and frequency of pedestrians exposed
- The nature of the liquid
- The lighting and visibility of the spill
- The nature of the floor surface
- The nature of the pedestrian footwear
- The nature and severity of the resulting injury and other damage
- Historical data of hazard and incident occurrence
Risk control is the most important stage in risk management and is the process of implementing actions to manage the risk. Risk can be managed by controlling the hazard or controlling the exposure. The Hierarchy of Control (HOC) is the most commonly used system for risk control, which illustrates various types of control in order of decreasing effectiveness. When applying the HOC preference should always be given to elimination/substitution/engineering of the hazard, as these controls are less likely to be susceptible to human factors. Application of the HOC in the aforementioned example of the liquid spill, can yield the following controls for consideration:
- Removing liquid sources (Elimination)
- Substituting the liquid with a solid form or a less slippery liquid (Substitution)
- Implementing access barricades to isolate spills (Engineering)
- Implementing spill resistant floor surface coating (Engineering)
- Implementing spill reporting, communication and management procedures (Administrative)
- Implementing spill signage (Administrative)
- Implementing spill resistant footwear (PPE)
Monitoring and Review
The final stage in the risk management process is the monitoring and periodic review of the risk and their controls to ensure effectiveness. Monitoring and review should be conducted upon a change in process and work environment, post hazard and incident occurrence, and scheduled into the safety management system for continuous improvement.
Risk Management Barriers
Risk management can be conducted incorrectly in workplaces due to a failure to identify all hazards. Assessment of the risk can be conducted without a consideration of all influencing factors, which can lead to an incorrect understanding of the risk. There can also be a failure to identify and implement controls which can result in reoccurring incidents. The risk management process can also be made unnecessarily complex by confusing risk rating systems and templates which present a barrier to understanding risk management.
Specific Risk Management Plans
Safetygap develop specific risk management plans (includes safety risk assessments) for managing risks from plant, equipment, processes, chemicals, materials and working environment. This includes a thorough evaluation of the subject matter upon development of the plan.
Workplace Risk Management Plans
Safetygap’s workplace risk management plans (includes safety risk assessments) include an end to end evaluation of your workplace and activities. Risk management plans are developed for all key risks associated with your workplace and activities. This service includes a risk register for your workplace.