Types of Health and Safety Risk Assessment Methods
The types of health and safety risk assessment methods depend on the type of assessment that is being carried out. There are three main types that can be identified, which will be discussed in the article in detail, they are:
- Baseline Risk Assessment
- Issue-Based Risk Assessment
- Continuous Risk Assessment
However, before exploring these, there are important concepts that must be explored namely:
- Hazard – which can simply be defined as a source or an exposure to danger. It can either be a condition, activity, object, substance, or a person, which could cause harm.
- Risk – which is the chance or the likelihood of a hazard causing harm to a person, property, or the environment.
Baseline Risk Assessments
Baseline Risk Assessments are done to determine the risk for the first time such as establishing a broad-based risk profile, or a set of profiles. It is used to prioritise action programmes for issue-based risk assessments and must be performed to establish a benchmark of the types and the size of potential hazards which may impact the overall organisation.
Depending on the results arising from the assessment, specific aspects or issues may be highlighted and this type of risk assessment must be performed on a site, region, or even on a national basis.
It must be comprehensive, and it could lead to other, more in-depth studies. Baseline Risk assessment examples include:
- Hygiene and health surveys for noise, illumination, ventilation, temperature, and other components.
- Environmental Impact Assessments and Aspect Registers.
- Fire Risk Assessments, and several others.
Issue-Based Risk Assessments
These assessments are the result when baseline risk assessments are assessed in further detail using techniques such as Fault Tree Analysis, HAZOPs, and several others. This assessment will be performed as result of highlighted aspects or issues, new processes, machines, or numerous other reasons.
Issue-based risk assessments are focused on operational activities, processes, systems, and other components. Examples of when they are carried out include:
- New machines which are introduced on a site.
- Systems of work that changed.
- Following an incident, accident, or near miss.
- New designs, layouts, equipment, processes, and so on.
- Changes in the risk profile.
- Process hazard analysis.
- Environmental Impact Assessments, and several others.
Continuous Risk Assessments
As the last of the types of health and safety assessment methods, its importance cannot be overstated. These assessments are part of all forms formal as well as informal inspections and observations which take place daily, or regularly.
They are powerful and important and must continue as an integral part of daily health and safety management. A continuous risk assessment focuses on daily hazard awareness which is created through hazard identification and immediate risk treatment.
By developing hazard awareness, inspections, checklists, pre-use checklists, and critical part and path inspections, can be designed and produced from the management controls as a product of issue-based risk assessments.
These assessments are performed at an operational level where there is monitoring of the system, processes, and activities on a continuous basis by floor management as well as first line supervisors.
The continuous risk assessment includes the following examples:
- Critical Task Observations
- OHS Audits
- Work Permits
- Toolbox Talks, and several others.
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