Importance Of Risk Assessment

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What is a risk assessment?
Risk assessment is the process where you:

Identify hazards.
Analyze or evaluate the risk associated with that hazard.
Determine appropriate ways to eliminate or control the hazard.
In practical terms, a risk assessment is a thorough look at your workplace to identify those things, situations, processes, etc that may cause harm, particularly to people. After identification is made, you evaluate how likely and severe the risk is, and then decide what measures should be in place to effectively prevent or control the harm from happening.

For definitions and more information about what hazards and risks are, please see the OSH Answers document Hazard and Risk.

Why is risk assessment important?
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They help to:

Create awareness of hazards and risks.
Identify who may be at risk (employees, cleaners, visitors, contractors, the public, etc).
Determine if existing control measures are adequate or if more should be done.
Prevent injuries or illnesses when done at the design or planning stage.
Prioritize hazards and control measures.

What is the goal of risk assessment?
The aim of the risk assessment process is to remove a hazard or reduce the level of its risk by adding precautions or control measures, as necessary. By doing so, you have created a safer and healthier workplace.

How do you do a risk assessment?
Assessments should be done by a competent team of individuals who have a good working knowledge of the workplace. Staff should be involved always include supervisors and workers who work with the process under review as they are the most familiar with the operation.

In general, to do an assessment, you should:

Identify
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By determining the level of risk associated with the hazard, the employer and the joint health and safety committee can decide whether a control program is required.

It is important to remember that the assessment must take into account not only the current state of the workplace but any potential situations as well.

See a sample risk assessment form.

How are the hazards identified?
Overall, the goal is to find and record possible hazards that may be present in your workplace. As mentioned, it may help to work as a team and include both people familiar with the work area, as well as people who are not – this way you have both the "experienced" and "fresh" eye to conduct the inspection.

To be sure that all hazards are found:

Look at all aspects of the work.
Include non-routine activities such as maintenance, repair, or cleaning.
Look at accident / incident / near-miss records.
Include people who work "off site" either at home, on other job sites, drivers, teleworkers, with clients, etc.
Look at the way the work is organised or "done" (include experience and age of people doing the work, systems being used,

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