Meaning of Risk Assessment: The 5 Steps to Risk Assessment

By | July 3, 2023
meaning of risk assessment
Meaning of risk assessment

The meaning of risk assessment is to identify the potential hazards & assess the risks inherent in the job and provide adequate control measures for the safe execution of the project.

Definition of Risk And Hazard

Before you proceed with a risk assessment process, you must know the definition of risk and hazard.

What is Hazard

Hazard

A hazard is something with the potential causes to harm to people, property, and the environment, or a combination of these.

 OR

Something that has the potential to cause harm to people, property, and the environment is called a hazard.

Hazard Examples

  • Moving or rotating parts of machines or equipment.
  • Excessive noise (more than 85db).
  • Slippery / Dusty floor.
  • Poorly designed workplace.
  • Poor illumination at the workplace.
  • Poor or awkward body posture.
  • Excessive heat and humidity.
  • Work at height.
  • The trailing cables on the working floor.

What is a Risk

Risk

A risk is a chance or probability of something happening that can harm an organization.

The severity of risk reflects-

  • The likelihood of the unwanted event.
  • The potential consequences of the unwanted event.

Risk Examples

  • Slips & Trips due to trailing cables, wet floor, and scattered tools & materials at the workplace.
  • Fire & Explosions due to uncontrolled hot work and improper storage of compressed gas cylinders.
  • Fall from height due to the scaffolding collapse or failure of the working platform at the elevated area.
  • Falling objects due to failure of lifting devices while lifting activity.
  • Electric shock due to caused by short circuits.
  • Exposure to hazardous materials & chemicals due to improper handling and non-compliance of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Meaning of Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is a technique to identify the potential hazards that could be caused to negatively impact an organization’s ability to execute the project safely. It helps to identify the inherent risks within the business and provides measures, prosses, and adequate controls to reduce the impact of these risks in the workplace. This will help the organization in the safe operation of assigned tasks.

The risk assessment is also a legal document that must be carried out before the commencement of any project to ensure the safe operation of that project by implementing effective control arising from the outcomes of the risk assessment.

Risk assessment can be conducted by top management of the organization, including the site manager, construction manager, safety manager, site engineer, and site supervisors. Outcomes of the risk assessment must be communicated among concerned task operatives to ensure that they are well aware of hazards & risks and their respective control measures while performing the job in the workplace. Employees’ concepts must be clear about the meaning of risk assessment and the 5 steps to risk assessment. The 5 steps to risk assessment are demonstrated below;

The 5 Steps to Risk Assessment

                           The 5 Steps to risk assessment

  1. Identify the potential hazards.
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how.
  3. Evaluate the risk and decide on control measures.
  4. Record your findings.
  5. Review and update the risk assessment if necessary.

1. Identify the potential hazards

The first step of the 5 steps to the risk assessment process is to identify the potential hazard. This is crucial for you to identify the things which pose a potential risk to the safety of employees, property, and the environment. Conduct a site visit on your premises to consider what could cause a hazard. Once hazards are identified, consult your staff for implementing corrective action. Your accident book may also assist in checking if there have been any problems previously.

While conducting a risk assessment, you must look out for hazards and risks, such as

  • Work at height, such as falling objects and men.
  • The risk associated with manual handling activity or lifting.
  • Slip & trip due to trailing cables and scattered tools on the working floor.
  • Poorly designed workstations may cause ergonomic hazards.
  • Exposure to hazardous materials and chemicals.
  • Environmental issues like, poor ventilation, illumination, and high level of noise.
  • Lone working.
  • Fire and explosion.
  • Electrical equipment.
  • General maintenance risks such as damaged or defective equipment.
  • Hazards and risks such as stress, workload, etc.

2. Decide who might be harmed and how

The second step of the five steps to risk assessment is to decide who might be harmed and how. For each hazard in the workplace, You should be aware of who might be harmed and how. This might include workers conducting activities, visitors, property, the environment, and even the public if you work adjacent to a public place.

Don’t just think only about those, Who are carrying out the work activity, No doubt they are the most persons who may be harmed. But also have to consider others who might be affected due to your work activity, such as if your task creates harmful fumes and dust that could be caused to put others at risk nearby your working area. So, In this case, You will have to think about the safety of people beyond your team.

  • Workers engaged in carrying out the job.
  • All other adjacent workers or contractors around the working area.
  • Visitors.
  • Clients who come for the site inspection.
  • Equipment operators.
  • The third-party inspectors come to the site for equipment inspection and certification.

3. Evaluate the risk and decide on control measures

The third step of the five steps to risk assessment is to evaluate the risk and decide on control measures. You must look at the likelihood and the severity of harm to people, property, and the environment. Priority to control the hazards in the workplace must be considered according to the severity of risks.

You must be fully aware of the Main risks and other things you need to do to mitigate workplace risks. You will decide what level of risk is acceptable before the commencement of work. If required control measures are not being implemented, don’t start the work until/unless existing risks are controlled to an acceptable level.

It would be best if you implemented the necessary controls in the workplace as much as reasonably practicable to reduce the risks to an acceptable level.

4. Record your findings

Record your findings is the fourth step of the five steps to risk assessment, and this is a legal requirement if you have five or more employees to conduct the risk assessment and keep the significant findings. It is crucial to keep your observations in your record, No matter what size businesses you have. Sometimes clients and third parties may ask to see it. It also shows that you are following the legal requirement to carry out a risk assessment to ensure the safety of your workers, property, and the environment.

A written risk assessment is a record of your findings during the commencement of risk assessment, and it can be used to communicate the hazards and respective controls among the concerned workforce.

5. Review and update the risk assessment if necessary

The fifth and last step of the 5 steps to risk assessment is to review and update the risk assessment if necessary. Hence, You have to ensure that you review and update your risk assessment if required. Review and revision of risk assessment shall be carried out depending on the changes in workplace conditions and feedback from task operatives who carry out the job or if you find any problems that could cause harm to people, property, and the environment.

How often you should review your risk assessment will depend upon many factors, such as:

  • The work locations are changed.
  • If there are Major changes in the working method or process.
  • You introduce new technology or equipment, which was not considered in the previous risk assessment.
  • In case of health and safety regulations change.
  • If you identify a new problem.

Conclusion

As an employer, You are legally responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for employees working under you. Hence you must ensure that risk assessment of your work premises and process has been carried out if you have five or more employees. This will help you to reduce the number of accidents in the workplace by evaluating risks and insisting on relevant control measures.

Q1. What is The Meaning of Risk Assessment?

Ans. The meaning of risk assessment is to identify the potential hazards & assess the risks inherent in the job and provide adequate control measures for the safe execution of the project.

Q2. What is Hazard?

Ans. Something that has the potential to cause harm to people, property, and the environment is called a hazard. 

Q3. What is Risk?

Ans. A risk is a chance or probability of something happening that can harm an organization.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *