Efficient Plant June 2018 - 18
safety matters risk assessment
What needs to be assessed?
Everything should be assessed, not just the
potential hazards. Among other things, look at the
work environment, ergonomics, and noise. Keep all of
that in mind, since, in case of a violation or litigation,
an organization must be able to demonstrate that the
risk assessment was sufficient for the given hazard.
How should this process begin?
The first thing that should be done is to get
buy-in from front-line employees by explaining that
the goal of a risk assessment is to have a workplace
free of hazards. It should be emphasized that each
employee is responsible for his/her own safety. It is a
responsibility of the employee to report any recognized hazards.
What can be done to reduce the risk
of injury on hard-to-guard hazardous
and safety professionals are all potential candidates.
These individuals should be empowered by an officer
of the company who is responsible for allocating
resources. Management must provide visible leadership to make this process credible.
Can a consultant be hired to carry out
a risk assessment?
How should risks be prioritized?
Priority should always be given to the highest
risk hazard. An ergonomic workstation is less of a
priority than an unguarded stamp press.
Competent consultants can greatly enhance the
risk-assessment process, but the final responsibility
for personnel safety is still that of the employer. Employees should also be trained to recognize hazards
and act appropriately.
When should a risk assessment be
Ideally, a risk assessment should be conducted whenever changes are made, especially when new machinery or systems are introduced, new tasks are added,
or a new routine is devised. When adding new processes, evaluate what tasks may create the probability
of a hazardous event.
Do what is feasible from a design standpoint. Implement safeguards, use personal protective equipment,
raise the general level of awareness of the hazard, and
develop safe work procedures for all tasks where the
hazard cannot be eliminated or controlled. The end
result should be to achieve a tolerable level of risk.
How do you determine which hazards
are worse than others?
Industry risk-assessment models are designed to
assist with this process.
What industries use risk assessments?
Risk assessments are conducted in many
industries where workplace accidents must be
minimized and product quality and performance are
critical. Some of these industries have made an effort
to standardize a process for evaluating risk, including:
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