George’s Safety Reflections
Risk assessment tips
The risk management process consists of hazard identification, risk assessment and hazard control. Some people tend to get fixated on the risk assessment part and do not place enough emphasis on hazard control. Personally I find Haddon’s 10 countermeasures more useful than the hierarchy of controls when developing controls
Risk assessment is the cornerstone of many organisations approach to OHS. The reality is that it can be a very subjective process and an over-concentration on risk scores can mislead badly.
The traditional wisdom for simple risk assessments is to use a matrix consisting of Probability and Consequence or Probability, Consequence and Exposure. I prefer the latter method developed by Fine.
The following tips are given to improve the efficiency of the risk assessment process-
- Replicate the situation you are assessing as accurately as possible
- Use a team approach, about 5 people seems a workable number
- Ensure team members are highly experienced in the risks being assessed.
- Reality check the risk assessment with the workforce
- Ensure team members are trained in risk assessment
- Have developed risk assessments reviewed by an appropriately qualified and experienced, objective third party