Risk assessment is defined as closely looking at hazards present in the workplace which can disguise themselves in manufacturing processes, day to day tasks, and substances/machinery involved. To combat the large amounts of workplace injuries and illnesses, companies are encouraged to identify problems before something new is put into place or when something is being changed. Many have heard of the popular idiom that says “measure twice and cut once” to prevent wasted time and material, the following six steps are kind of similar except it’s more like measure six times to prevent serious or even deadly accidents.
- Identify hazards (anything that may cause harm). This includes hazards to health and hazards to safety.
- Who is at risk and what is the likelihood of harm?
- Identify the actions that are required to eliminate or mediate the risk.
- Evaluate the rate of success with the applied action.
- Monitor the results to make sure it is still as effective.
- Keep documents that may be necessary. This includes:
- The process that was used to access the risk
- Any evaluations
- Any conclusions made
To assess the risk of workplace hazards, there is a chart called the risk matrix that is often color-coded for severity and likelihood of accidents/emergencies. To determine the consequences of a hazard, the employer or person in charge of determining this scale should treat the chart and all of its outcomes as an inevitability to ensure that the most accurate consequences are documented. They are usually grouped into four categories:
- Major or serious injury
- Minor injury
- Negligible injuries
To determine the likelihood of this injury occurring the big question to ask would be "if this equipment fails how likely is the employee going to end up injured."" This should not be confused with how likely the hazard will occur as that is the thing we are trying to eradicate from the workplace. This scale is also composed of four groups:
- Very likely
- Highly unlikely
Risk assessments are necessary and required for every workplace to ensure that every worker either is aware or properly trained in their environment, if not completely free of dangerous risks while completing tasks.
Similar Glossary Terms
- Risk Priority Number (RPN)
- Foot Protection
- Job Safety Analysis (JSA)
- Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS)
- Chemical Safety
- FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis)
- Administrative Controls
- Industrial Hygiene