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Risk Assessment Safety Program Overview

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Risk assessment is part of every safety program that analyzes potential workplace hazards.

  • OSHA requires employers to carry out risk assessments of their workplace often.
  • Risk assessment involves controlling workplace illness, violence, materials, and equipment.
  • Consider all aspects of work when conducting a risk assessment. 

Why is Safety Important? 

Every person in the sector understands the importance of workplace safety since everyone wants to work in a protected environment. Safety in the workplace will reduce the possibility of workplace injuries. 

In addition to safeguarding employees from accidents and illnesses, a safe and healthy workplace may also assist businesses in avoiding workers' compensation fees or injury claims, which would result in financial savings. Furthermore, it is the moral thing to do. 

What is a Risk?

The potential or probability that someone would suffer injury or have a negative impact on their health as a result of exposure to a danger is what OSHA defines as "risk." It also holds true when there is a loss of goods or equipment (OSHA). 

Defining Risk Assessment

A risk assessment is a formal process made to identify hazards, evaluate and analyze any risks associated with those hazards, then provide viable options when it comes to eliminating and/or controlling the hazards. 

In simpler terms, a risk assessment is a thorough look into the workplace in order to identify anything that may cause harm to employees. This thorough process enables employers to take steps into preventing injury or illness in the workplace. 

Who is in Charge of the Process?

Your employer is the one responsible for performing risk assessments in the workplace. However, an employer can appoint a competent individual to carry out a risk assessment on their behalf. More often than not, if the employer themselves is not carrying out the process, a designated supervisor will. 

What Does OSHA Say About Risk Assessments?

Risk assessments are required in every workplace under OSHA regulations. Risk assessments are key in deciding what types of controls may be necessary to combat hazards on the job. Under the section of this specific OSHA standard, it reads; “The employer shall assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of [controls].” 

How Do Risk Assessments Impact Safety?

Risk is the main cause of uncertainty in any work environment. Risk assessments help to create an awareness of hazards and risks associated with the workplace, overriding that uncertainty. 

The purposeof a risk assessment is to ultimately improve workplace health and safety. Risk assessments not only affect the employer or designated supervisor, it also positively impacts any employee involved. Being aware of the hazard is the first step in preventing injury or illness in the workplace. 

Risk Management and Hazard Control 

Any employee working there is at risk for safety risks due to workplace hazards. Unfortunately, dangers may be found almost anywhere, and some are more subtle than others. The following are some of the most prevalent risks at work today:

  • Contagious illnesses
  • Material hazards
  • Equipment and machinery
  • Workplace violence

The risk assessment process is made up of a couple different types of safety procedures. These procedures are called risk management and hazard control. Both of which are important to the safety of working employees. 

The process of detecting, monitoring, and managing possible hazards in order to reduce the total impact they could have on the workplace is known as risk management.

A hazard control plan describes how certain controls, such as elimination, substitution, engineering, administrative controls, or PPE, should be implemented into the workplace.

Risk Assessment Training

The first step in completing a risk assessment effectively is risk assessment training. Without the right training, employers or authorized supervisors would not be able to accurately identify possible hazards and put in place the required safeguards to protect their employees from sickness or injury. 

Risk assessments may be carried out precisely and effectively with training. The chance of work-related accidents can be significantly decreased with an efficient risk assessment. 

Employers can choose from a variety of training styles to get training on risk assessment, including:

  • Instructor-led
  • Coaching
  • Hands-on
  • Group Discussion
  • Lecture-style

Where Does Safety Training Come In?

Regardless of the structure, safety training sessions aid in raising employees' awareness of both their personal safety and the safety of their coworkers. 

Employees who lack safety training won't be equipped to deal with dangers at work. Hazards and accidents increase the likelihood of employee injuries if they are not addressed effectively. Everyone benefits from safety training because it lowers the likelihood of accidents and fatalities. 

Risk Assessment Courses

As was previously said, this sort of training may come in a variety of forms, but one of the most popular methods to get it is through enrolling in a risk assessment course. A risk assessment course is a type of training program that covers material particular to conducting risk assessments.

What Will I Find in a Training Course?

A risk assessment course will provide the student all the knowledge and tools they require to execute an accurate risk assessment. According to OSHA regulations, these programs should assist businesses in comprehending each of the critical phases in a risk assessment, including:

  • How to determine the likelihood of harm
  • How to identify risks
  • How to manage hazards
  • How to work through the steps of a risk assessment

The next sections will go into further depth about these crucial stages. 

These training sessions not only provide businesses access to all of this knowledge, but they also instruct on how to utilize tools and teach tactics to make the risk assessment process simpler and more effective. 

Identifying Hazards and Risks

Any risks currently present in the workplace must be examined and factored into the final evaluation before a risk assessment can be conducted. There are several tools for recognizing hazards that may be used. Collecting and reviewing any available data on these current dangers is the first step in identifying hazards. This information may be accessed and consulted in many different locations. Among the resources at your disposal are:

  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  • Industrial Hygiene Assessments
  • Safety Publications
  • Incident Investigation Reports

All work areas including facilities, equipment, and operations, should also be thoroughly inspected. By doing so, the employer or designated supervisor can familiarize themselves with the workplace and will be able to identify hazards more efficiently. 

Different Types of Hazards

There are several dangers that might endanger those who are at work. The following are some of the most typical forms of occupational hazards:

  • Biological - Any viruses, germs, insects, or animals that might be harmful to an employee's health are considered biological risks. 
  • Chemical - Hazardous chemicals are compounds that can hurt a worker. These dangers may have an impact on one's physical well-being.
  • Physical - Environmental elements known as physical hazards have the potential to injure a worker even if they are not directly touched. Height, sound, radiation, and pressure are a few examples.
  • Safety - These risks result in hazardous working circumstances. For instance, broken flooring that might cause a trip or fall or exposed wires that could result in electrocution.
  • Ergonomic - Physical factors that might cause musculoskeletal injuries can result in ergonomic risks. Repetitive movements or poor posture may be the cause of this.
  • Psychosocial - Risks to an employee's mental health or well-being are referred to as psychosocial hazards. 

Management: Conducting a Risk Assessment

Four actions can be taken to perform a risk assessment. When it comes to the employees' welfare, each step is crucial. Therefore, each defining step must be carried out completely. They are as follows:

Step 1 - Hazard Identification

Step 2 - Response Assessment

Step 3 - Exposure Assessment

Step 4 - Risk Characterization

Asking the correct questions and conducting a good risk assessment all boil down to presuming the worse. These queries often fall into one of three groups. These three groups are as follows:

  1. The level of severity
  2. The length of exposure
  3. The likelihood of employee injury

The Level of Severity

Employers should ask: "How severe will the worst potential harm be if certain employees are exposed to the hazard?" while determining the degree of severity. When it comes to employee safety, knowing how serious a possible accident may be is essential.

There are four severity levels to take into consideration. These are listed from least to most severe:

  1. Minor - These wounds are bruising or minor abrasions.
  2. Serious - Serious injuries are those that are more serious than mild injuries but are not necessarily permanently disabling. They will likely need medical care. 
  3. Major - The majority of these wounds, including blindness or amputation, are lifelong.
  4. Fatal - Fatal injuries, as the name suggests, refer to any injury that results in death. 

Employers may determine which dangers are the most dangerous to their employees by rating and classifying the severity of the risks.

The Length of Exposure

Employers should assess the frequency with which a hazard puts employees at risk when calculating its total exposure. Three factors must be taken into account while responding to this question in order to properly assess the hazard. 

  1. How many workers were affected?
  2. How often are the workers exposed to the risk?
  3. How long are these workers subject to the risk?

The Likelihood of Employee Injury

Finally, employers should inquire as to the risk of employee harm in the event of an occurrence. The chance of employee injuries when a danger is present can be calculated in a manner comparable to how serious the hazard is. There are 4 levels of probability that an incident may occur:

  1. “Unlikely” – very low likelihood of employee injury
  2. “Possible” – low to medium likelihood of employee injury 
  3. “Probable” – medium to high likelihood of employee injury 
  4. “Certain” – 100% likelihood of employee injury

Safe Work Procedures

A safe work procedure is a written step-by-step process of how to conduct a task safely. Safe work procedures are developed after a risk assessment. A safe work procedure incorporates all the information from the risk assessment in a way that allows employees to carry out their tasks safely.

The purpose of a safe work procedure is to reduce the risk to health and safety in the workplace. It is also important when it comes to reducing the likelihood of injury by ensuring employees know how to carry out their tasks safely. 

Risk Assessment Template

The majority of risk assessment systems provide companies a resource known as a risk assessment template. An great example of a resource is a risk assessment training course. A risk assessment template may be used to keep track of the phases and the process.

  • A description of the steps, job, or workplace that are being evaluated.
  • A record of the risks that have been recognized.
  • A written list of the dangers connected to each activity.
  • Photographs of the hazard are included.
  • A record of the precise precautions taken to mitigate the risk. 
"Stop training the hard way. Do it the Hard Hat Training way instead!"
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