Understanding Workplace Risk Assessment
In any workplace, the safety and well-being of employees are of utmost importance. To ensure that the workplace is safe, risk assessments are essential. A workplace risk assessment is a process of identifying potential hazards that can cause harm to employees and evaluating the level of risk associated with them. It helps employers to understand the hazards present in the workplace and take necessary measures to prevent or control them.
What is a Workplace Risk Assessment?
A workplace risk assessment is a systematic process of identifying and evaluating potential hazards in the workplace. It involves assessing the risks associated with those hazards and implementing control measures to reduce or eliminate those risks.
Why is Workplace Risk Assessment important?
Workplace risk assessment is important because it helps employers to identify and manage potential hazards that can cause harm to employees. It also helps to prevent accidents, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace. Workplace risk assessment can also help to reduce the financial and legal risks associated with workplace accidents.
The Steps Involved in Workplace Risk Assessment
The following are the steps involved in conducting a workplace risk assessment:
Step 1: Identify Hazards – Identify the potential hazards that can cause harm to employees. This includes physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic, and psychosocial hazards.
Step 2: Assess Risks – Evaluate the level of risk associated with each hazard. This involves determining the likelihood and severity of harm that can result from each hazard.
Step 3: Implement Control Measures – Implement control measures to reduce or eliminate the identified hazards. This can include engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE). The hierarchy of controls will be discussed later.
Step 4: Review and Monitor – Regularly review and monitor the effectiveness of the control measures implemented. This involves ensuring that the control measures are working as intended and making changes as necessary.
Checklist for Hazard Identification
Checklists can be a valuable tool for identifying workplace hazards. They provide a systematic approach to identifying potential hazards and can help ensure that no hazards are overlooked. Here are some checklists that can be used to identify workplace hazards:
- General Hazard Checklist: This checklist includes general workplace hazards that could be present in any workplace. It covers areas such as electrical hazards, fire hazards, hazardous materials and slips, trips, and falls.
- Hazard-Specific Checklist: This type of checklist is tailored to a specific hazard or task. For example, a hazard-specific checklist could be developed for working with hazardous chemicals, working at heights, or operating heavy machinery.
- Workplace Inspection Checklist: This checklist is used to conduct a thorough inspection of the workplace to identify potential hazards. It covers areas such as lighting, ventilation, emergency exits, and housekeeping.
- Employee Observation Checklist: This checklist involves observing employees as they perform their work tasks to identify potential hazards. It covers areas such as ergonomics, manual handling, and the use of personal protective equipment.
When using a checklist to identify workplace hazards, it is important to involve employees in the process. They can provide valuable insight into potential hazards that may not be apparent to someone who is not directly involved in the task. Additionally, it is important to regularly review and update the checklists to ensure that they are current and effective.
By using checklists to identify workplace hazards, employers can take a proactive approach to workplace safety. This can help to prevent accidents, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace and create a safer and healthier work environment for employees.
Below: Digital Hazard Identification Checklist by DIGI CLIP mobile forms
DIGI CLIP mobile forms provide digital safety, compliance & inspections checklists
Hierarchy of Controls
The Hierarchy of Controls is a system used to prioritise and implement workplace safety measures. The system is designed to reduce or eliminate workplace hazards by implementing different levels of control measures in order of effectiveness. The Hierarchy of Controls includes five levels of controls, listed in order of effectiveness:
- Elimination: This involves removing the hazard entirely from the workplace. This could include removing dangerous machinery or chemicals or modifying work processes to eliminate the need for hazardous activities.
- Substitution: This involves replacing the hazard with something less hazardous. For example, replacing a toxic chemical with a less toxic one or replacing a dangerous piece of machinery with a safer one.
- Engineering Controls: This involves physically modifying the workplace to reduce the hazard. For example, installing safety guards on machinery or improving ventilation to reduce exposure to hazardous substances.
- Administrative Controls: This involves changing the way work is done to reduce the hazard. This could include rotating job tasks to limit exposure to a hazard or implementing training programs to educate employees on how to safely work with hazardous materials.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): This involves providing employees with personal protective equipment to reduce their exposure to the hazard. Examples include safety glasses, respirators, and gloves.
The Hierarchy of Controls is a systematic way to prioritise workplace safety measures, with the most effective control measures at the top of the list. It is important for employers to implement control measures at the highest level possible, with PPE as a last resort when all other control measures have been exhausted. By following the Hierarchy of Controls, employers can ensure that they are taking the most effective measures possible to protect their employees from workplace hazards.
Who Should Conduct Workplace Risk Assessments?
Workplace risk assessments should be conducted by competent people who have the necessary skills and knowledge to identify hazards, assess risks, and implement control measures. In small businesses, this can be the employer or a designated employee. A health and safety professional may be required to conduct risk assessments in larger businesses.
The Benefits of Standardising Workplace Risk Assessment
Standardising workplace risk assessments can bring a number of benefits to your business. It can help to ensure that risk assessments are conducted consistently and efficiently across your organisation. Standardisation can also help to improve communication and understanding between employees and employers and reduce the risk of legal issues arising from inadequate or inconsistent risk assessments.
Integrating Workplace Risk Assessment into Your Safety Management System
Workplace risk assessments should be an integral part of your safety management system. It should be included in your policies and procedures, and all employees should be trained to conduct and participate in risk assessments. Regular safety audits and reviews should also be conducted to ensure that risk assessments are being conducted effectively and control measures are in place.
Workplace risk assessments are crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of employees in any workplace. A workplace risk assessment involves identifying potential hazards, assessing the risks associated with them, and implementing control measures to reduce or eliminate those risks. Checklists can be an effective tool for identifying workplace hazards and involving employees in the process. The Hierarchy of Controls is a systematic way to prioritise safety measures, with the most effective control measures at the top of the list. Workplace risk assessments should be conducted by competent people, and standardising the process can bring many benefits to businesses, including improved communication and more consistent and efficient risk assessments. By prioritising workplace safety measures, employers can create a safer and healthier work environment for their employees.
DIGI CLIP mobile forms – What Do We Do?
DIGI CLIP mobile forms is an easy-to-use inexpensive digital checklist & inspection app and cloud-based software. DIGI CLIP is used across different industries to capture safety and compliance data and other information to help improve safety, compliance and operational efficiencies.
DIGI CLIP will allow you to remove paper reporting from your business – no more lost, late missing or illegible checklists. The DIGI CLIP mobile app allows images, comments and digital signatures to be added to checklists from a phone or tablet.
DIGI CLIP has a Form Library where you can access all of the above forms and more for your use. All checklists and inspections can be edited or updated to meet your risk and operational requirements.
DIGI CLIP also has a safety management module called Safety Tracker. Safety Tracker is our incident and hazard reporting and management software application that adds to DIGI CLIP mobile forms. Incidents and hazards are reported via the DIGI CLIP app or directly on the cloud-based software. Incident and quality Investigations and hazard assessments are completed on templates provided by DIGI CLIP and corrective and closeout actions are tracked by the cloud-based software.
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Streamline your safety, compliance & inspection checks with the DIGI CLIP mobile checklist app today.
- SafeWork Australia – Managing Risks
- SafeWork NSW – Safety Inspections
- Comcare – Conduct Workplace Inspections
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