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Friday, 25 September 2020

Risk Assessment : The 5 Steps Approach

Risk Assessment : The 5 Steps Approach


A hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer, etc;

The risk is the chance, high or low that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.

In many organizations, the risk are well known and the necessary control measures are easy to apply.

How to access the risk in you workplace

The 5 Steps Approach

Step 1  -  Identify hazards.

Step 2  -  Assess the risks.

Step 3  -  Control the risks.

Step 4  -  Record findings.

Step 5  -  Review and update.

Step 1 – Identify hazards

  • Walk around your workplace and look at what could reasonably be expected to cause harm.
  • Ask your fellow colleagues what they think.  They may have noticed things that are not immediately obvious to you.
  • Check manufacturers’ instructions or data sheets for chemicals and equipment as they can be very helpful in spelling out the hazards and putting them in their true perspective.
  • Remember to think about long-term hazards to health (e.g. high levels of noise or exposure to harmful substances) as well as safety hazards.

 Step 2 – Assess the risks (Decide who might be harmed and how)

  • For each hazard you need to be clear about who might be harmed. 
    • It will help to identify the best way of managing the risk.
    • This doesn’t mean listing everyone by name, but rather identifying groups of people.
  • In each case, identify how they might be harmed.
    • What type of injury or ill health might occur.
    • e.g. Shelf stackers may suffer back injury from repeated lifting of heavy boxes.
 Step 3 – Control the risks (Evaluate the risk and decide precautions)
  • Having spotted the hazards, decide what to do about them.
    • The law requires to do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect the people from harm.
    • Compare what you are doing with best practices.
  • Consider
    • Can the hazard be eliminate altogether?
    • If not, how to control the risks so that harm is unlikely?
  • When controlling risk, apply the principles below.
    • Try less risky option – e.g. switch to use less hazardous chemical.
    • Prevent access to hazard – e.g. by guarding.
    • Organize work to reduce exposure to the hazard – e.g. put barriers between pedestrians and traffic.
    • Issue PPE – e.g. clothing, footwear, goggles, etc.
    • Provide welfare facilities – e.g. first-aid and washing facilities for removal of contamination.
  • Involve staff ensure the proposal will work in practice and won’t introduce new hazards.
 Step 4 – Record findings and implement them
  • Write down the results of the risk assessment. 
  • Share them with the staff.
  • Keep the record simple, suitable and sufficient.
  • Plan for implementation.  
    • Immediate containment actions until more reliable control are in place.  
    • Long-term solutions to risks most likely to cause accidents or ill health.  
    • Long-term solutions to those risks with worst potential consequences.  
    • Arrangement for training.  
    • Regular checks to ensure control measures stay in place.
Step 5 – Review the risk assessment and update
  • Why review? 
    • Few workplace stays the same. 
  • Review assessment to determine if there have been changes or need improvements. 
  • Ensure the assessment stay up to date.




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