Safety and Risk Management Assessment

Safety and Risk Management Assessment

Guest Post

Risk management is the foundation of many safety initiatives and programs. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uses information from their assessments, as well as those conducted by businesses, to determine what existing hazards are present in work place environments.
1. Business Operations. Effective company management includes engaging proper risk and safety procedures. This is best accomplished by establishing a management team for the most benefit and protection to the business. Risk assessments identify unsafe behaviors, as well as equipment malfunctions.

  1. Training. From the medical field to heavy industry, safety and risk management is one of the more critical training subjects. While the success of any business involves an adequate safety record, risk training is nonetheless often overlooked or treated haphazardly. Effective safety and risk management training must be comprehensive. In addition, it should be engaging enough to impress upon trainees the critical importance of risk avoidance. Methods and techniques should be emphasized that can be easily adapted to workplace environments to prevent injuries.
  2. Hazard Identification. The first step in risk assessment is to identify existing hazards. This is best accomplished by examining everything in the workplace that might cause harm or injury. For example, all of the following should be reviewed thoroughly:

  • Equipment
  • Methods
  • Handling
  • Procedures
  • Work Spaces
  • Storage
  • Organization Systems
  • Routine maintenance and cleaning

Review any records of previous incidents of injury, including near miss situations. Investigate possible scenarios in which injuries may occur. For example, how a power failure would be handled. Discuss how human behaviors and various employee characteristics might pose risks, such as disabilities or experience levels. Include off site employees and visitors.
4. Analyze Risk. Determine which hazards could pose serious risk. Review past injuries, material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and manufacturer information. Evaluate all of the risk factors, such as practices, working environment, employee skill levels and the range of any foreseeable circumstances and conditions.
5. Prioritize Risk. Once risks are analyzed, rank each one on an action list. When determining the risk level, factor in the percentage of employees that could be exposed, as well as exposure frequency and the probability and degree of injury.

  1. Engineering Hazard Control. Engineering controls include modifications or designs of equipment, plants, ventilation systems and hazard exposure reduction procedures. Controlling hazards involves the following measures:
  • Elimination
  • Substitution
  • Engineering
  • Administrative
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Complete methods of controlling engineering hazards in order of priority from the risk analysis list. Elimination or substitution will remove the hazard from the workplace environment.

  1. Administrative Hazard Control. Examine how work is performed, such as:
  • Timing
  • Rules
  • Operating procedures
  • Maintenance

Ensure that PPE is worn by any employees who may be at risk of exposure. Employees must know how to determine if hazards may be immediately controlled, how they will be controlled and who is responsible for controlling them. In some instances, temporary fixes will need to be adopted before work continues.
OSHA policies govern that employers must provide the safest workplaces for employees possible. Therefore, every effort should be made to control hazards on a permanent basis. Detailed safety and risk management assessment analysis affords the ability to establish and maintain safe work habits, procedures and practices.

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