Risk assessment is the process of thinking about what might cause harm to people and deciding what steps needs to be taken to avoid them. While maintaining health and safety of business everyone must control risks in their workplace.
Risk assessment is not about filling your cupboards with BIG books, journals and paperwork. (We should seriously reduce use of paper considering amount of trees are being cut). It is about what steps we have taken to reduce risks at workplace by analyzing it.
Difference between hazard and risk
Hazard is any substance, situation with the potential of creating damage or can cause harm
Risk is the chance, probability of a specific effect within specific period. It can be High or low.
How to start risk Assessment in Industry
Risk assessment and risk analysis of technical systems can be divided into three steps:
- Identify hazards
- Quantify risks
- Determine machineries, safety measures and human interventions for safety of plant
Ideal Risk analysis is cannot be carried out by one person (mostly EHS officer or EHS manager) as it may throw light on particular aspect. There needs to be 3-4 experts from different background to carry out risk analysis e.g. experts from Chemicals, Equipment, health etc.
How to Identify Hazards in Risk Assessment in Industry?
It is one the most important process of risk assessment to identify potential hazards at your workplace. Best way to do is just walk around your workplace, think about hazards and write them down.
We can consider below points in the process of identifying hazards
- Raw materials, products
- Machineries and plant design
- Workplace activities and environment
- Human interaction with equipments
- Historic accidents and ill-health records
- Read Environmental Health and safety guide
Below are some methods for hazards identification can be referred to more accurate risk assessment. Small industries where staff is below 5 employee need not to follow these processes.
Methods of risk Assessment
There are plenty of risk assessment methods are available, but we can choose the severity and level of risks we are considering at workplace. Let’s read one by one.
- What if analysis: it is the process in which what if questions are asked about what could go wrong and what could happen if anything go wrong.
- Checklists: It is the list of known hazards and threats by experienced person.
- HAZOP: It is process of thoroughly evaluating risks by professionals. It is very costly and time-consuming process.
- Task Analysis: It also known as Fault tree analysis. It is to identify all the things that could potentially cause a hazardous event.
- Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA): this process begins with system for analysis and then looks at each element within a system and then it tries to predict what will happen to whole system if each element fails.
Evaluating the Risk at workplace
Once the hazards are identified, we can think on how they can harm, what will be the level of risk and what needs to be done to avoid it.
We can ask below questions to ourselves:
- Can I move or discard this hazard?
- If not, then how can we control the risks so that harm can be minimized?
Steps to risk assessment in Industry or workplace
After we done with evaluating risks, we can now take below steps to control risks at workplace:
- Look for less risky option
- Preventing contact to the hazards
- Organizing work to reduce contact to hazards
- Supplying protective equipment to employee (e.g. In case of fire – fire extinguisher)
- Providing first Aid and washing facilities wherever possible
- Involving and consulting workers in the process of risk assessment
- Periodic monitoring of ambient air, Indoor air, stacks, water, Noise, Soil for pollutants level
Improving health and safety of employees not necessarily need cost a lot. There are plenty of low-cost solutions are available to avoid accidents.
We can involve workers in the process of identifying risks and creating control measure plan.
We can also share our risk assessment plan with other industries who concern with particular activity. We can also ask them to share their risk assessment plan which may highlight risk we haven’t thought about.
Risk assessment can be conducted in Chemical, Pharmaceutical, food, construction, fitness, manufacturing and garment industries.
Let us know if you have any tips for conducting risk assessment in industry then let us know in comments.