Risk Assessment Process – Step 2 Risk Evaluation and Control

In risk assessment and hazard identification process step 1 we have already identified the hazards associated with the activity of concern. Now we are going to evaluate the actual risk quantitatively associated with each hazard or aspect.

We will use a typical risk assessment matrix for estimating the severity and probability of occurrence of the unwanted event/damage.

Remember  to involve as many people as you can for doing this exercise because while deciding about the probability the experienced people can tell how many times the event can happen or has happened during their career or life.

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Similarly about the severity or impact of the hazard, accurate information can be contributed by experienced personnel.

You can use the following table for scoring the severity depending upon the guidelines/effects mentioned against each score.

The persons who are conducting risk assessment should not only rely upon below mentioned criteria there are many different criterion available online on the internet, although this one is also sufficient to conduct a good risk assessment. Also the team leader should get  feedback from all involved on each hazard and ask about the impact of the past events if happened like mentioned above.

Score

Severity

Guidelines for evaluation of Health & Safety Hazards (Use score against each row if the below can happen related to the activity you are evaluating) Guidelines for evaluation of Environmental Impact (Use score against each row if the below can happen related to the activity you are evaluating)

1

Negligible

  • If the damage or injury or impact is negligible
  • Only discomfort or irritation
  • No property damage or production loss
  • Limited emissions     within the organization’s premises not affecting the external community
  • Small spills, limited fire etc

2

Minor

  • 1 day absence
  • First Aid
  • Minor production or      property loss (>10000)
  • Disfigurement of natural environment
  • Deforestation
  • Migration of fauna

3

Moderate

  • More than 2 days absence
  • Medical treatment
  • Moderate production or property loss (>50000)
  • Indirect damage to environment
  • Depletion of natural resources
  • Wastage of energy
  • Destruction of natural habitat

4

Critical

  • Serious illness or    permanent disability
  • Major Production or   Property Loss  (>100000)
  • Direct but  intermittent  emissions to the ecosystem
  • Limited public complaints
  • Intermittent excursions beyond regulatory limits

5

Catastrophic

  • Death
  • Significant Production or Property Loss  (>1000000)
  • Offence against law or regulation
  • Direct and continuous emissions to ecosystem
  • Large scale public/ community complaints
  • Continuous excursions beyond regulatory limits with fines

Similarly following table shall be used for deciding about the probability of happening of the unwanted event. Again all personnel should recall their experiences about occurrence of same kind of events in their careers or even the industry specific data available on many websites. That data can be used for evaluating the likelihood of an event.

Score Probability Guideline for Evaluation

1

Rare

Will not happen in 20 years and has not happened in last 20 years in same industry/activity

2

Unlikely

Will not happen in 10 years and has not happened in last 10 years in same industry/activity

3

Moderate

Will not happen in 5 years and has not happened during last 5 years.

4

Likely

May happen in 1-5 year and has happened during last 1-5 years for same kind of activity

5

Most Certain

Will happen anytime in 1 year and is happening or has happened frequently in the same type of industry/activity during last 1 year.

The likelihood and severity are combined in one table that is called Risk Assessment Matrix/Criteria. Refer below given sample risk assessment format / template.

hazard-identification-and-risk-assessment-hira-form

hazard-identification-and-risk-assessment-hira-form

After understanding the scoring of likelihood and consequences now you need to record your risk assessment on risk assessment form that is the output of the whole process. This form can be used for submission to the clients/third parties as part of method statements or standard operating procedures.

The risk is calculated as the product of probability and severity based upon the value of identified risk the control measures are suggested. Following is the hierarchy of controls that should be followed while suggesting the control measures as mentioned in OHSAS 18001:2007 standard.

  1. Elimination: Hazard is to be eliminated completely i.e. if flammable materials are there and we are going to start welding work, to eliminate fire hazard it is necessary that remove the flammable material before start of work.
  2. Substitution: If elimination is not feasible then try to substitute the machine, method or material responsible for the risk i.e. using the grinding/cutting machines equipped with vacuum suction for debris/dust.
  3. Engineering Control: Apply suitable engineering control before start of the work for example after the trenching work proper walls or trench boxes are inserted prior to sending the workforce in the confined area also putting machine guards etc.
  4. Signage/warnings and or Administrative Controls: Proper safety signs and slogans are displayed and where required persons are deputed to guide people regarding the risks in that area.
  5. Personal Protective Equipment: This is the last option if the risk is still there personal protective equipment PPE also termed safety gear is provided before start of the work.

After suggesting the control measures the risk value is recalculated and there may be change in likelihood/probability of occurrence, remember the severity will remain the same if the incident happens in most cases.

Now the residual risk is also recorded on the same risk assessment form with necessary control measures to start the work. The risk assessment is signed by safety in-charge and distributed to all the operatives that are involved in that activity. The risk assessment is main document that should be available on the working platform/workshop and to be discussed in toolbox talks/safety meetings.

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