We have already learned about the risk and hazard. We came across the terms high risk and low risk. How one can decide the risk is high or low that process is called risk assessment. Risk Assessment is a step wise process first to identify the hazards associated with an activity, situation or an object and then evaluate the risk associated with that specific hazard ultimately finding the ways to eliminate the risk or minimize it if elimination is not feasible.
What is Risk Assessment?
The most common term HIRA is used for this process which stands for hazard identification and risk assessment. So the risk assessment process consists of mainly:
- Identify Hazards
- Evaluate the risk (based upon probability and severity)
- Eliminate or minimize the risk by implementing practicable control measures.
- Review the effectiveness of the HIRA implementation.
- Revise the risk assessments after major process changes or incidents.
HIRA Hazard Identification & Risk Assessment
Hazard identification and Risk assessment process must be completed by an authorized and qualified or competent person. All levels of employees should be contacted and their feedback to be taken based upon their previous experience for the operation/activity/process under the risk assessment. During the risk assessment process every aspect should be taken in to account like all possible hazards in the area of work and all associated risks. Existing controls if already implemented should be informed and inspected for effectiveness. Any future change or existing review processes must be taken in to account while performing the risk assessment HIRA activity.
The output of the hazard identification and risk assessment process is a report that briefly describes the actual risk identified and necessary control measures also describing the residual risk i.e. minimized risk if recommended control measures are implemented. The process of preparing the risk assessment and then implementing the requird resources in order to achieve best performance and good working environment is called risk management.
Important Considerations for Risk Assessment
Below is list of few general considerations while doing a risk assessment process:
- what hazards are present in the working area
- how a person or equipment is exposed with frequency i.e. route of exposure, as well as how often and how much exposure occurred
- what kind of effect could result from the specific exposure a person is experiencing
- the risk (or likelihood) that exposure to a hazardous thing or condition would cause an injury, or disease or some incidence causing damage
- how severe would the damage, injury or harm (adverse health effect) be from the exposure.
Steps for Risk Assessment
- Different groups to be assigned to gain the data.
- Identify the target area where risk assessment HIRA is required.
- Identify the activity or process for which HIRA is required
- List down the activities involved in specific process
- List down the hazards involved with the activities
- Check and note down hazards related to environmental risk assessment
- In case of business involving chemicals COSHH Assessment to be done
- Observe the experience of working people
- Identify already implemented risk assessment initiatives
- Calculate the risk using the risk matrix i.e. severity x probability
- Suggest control measures for high risks areas or activities