Risk Assessments

No matter what you call it - a hazard prevention program, a job safety
analysis, or a risk assessment - having a system in place to recognize and
control hazards is an important step to making your workplace safer. Employers
have a legal responsibility to conduct a risk assessment in their workplace,
and to continually review and monitor the program. The Canadian Centre for
Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has published a chock full of sample
worksheets, forms and processes as well as step-by-step instructions that
clearly guide the reader through the development of a job safety analysis
process customized to their particular workplace.

Conducting a risk assessment means taking a thorough look at your workplace to
identify any objects, situations or processes that may cause harm, particularly
to people. Armed with this information, an employer is better equipped to
control or eliminate workplace hazards.

A risk assessment allows you to determine what hazards exist in your workplace,
who might be at risk, whether or not existing control measures are adequate,
which hazards need immediate attention, and how to prevent injury and illness.
Here's how to do it:

Identify hazards

Your risk assessment team should include supervisors, as well as workers who
are familiar with the work processes. The team's task is to examine all aspects
of the work. Have there been any accidents or near misses? Record them. How is
the work done or organized? Who is doing the work, and what is their age and
level of experience? In case of an emergency, is anything lacking that could
mean trouble? Are visitors or the public at risk? Study all aspects of every
job, inside and out.

One effective way to identify hazards is through a Job Safety Analysis (JSA).
The publication Job Safety Analysis Made Simple, developed by CCOHS and the
Labour Program of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada offers guidance
on how to do this.

Rank the hazards in order of importance

The severity of a risk depends on several factors, including how many people
are exposed to the hazard, how often they will be exposed to it, the degree of
harm likely to result, and the probability of harm. Find out everything you can
about every hazard.

Have a plan of action

As a team, decide on ways to control the hazards, one at a time. This is an
involved but effective process. The four main ways to control a hazard are
through elimination or substitution of the hazard, engineering controls,
administrative controls, and only as a last resort, personal protective

Review, monitor and report

The Minister of Labour requires that employers submit a report, at least every
three years, of how the risk management program is progressing. Review your
program as needed, whenever there is a new project starting, a change in work
flow or processes, new equipment, new employees, a new location, new chemicals
or other hazardous substances, or new information about a product being used in
the workplace. Keep a record of any hazard reviews you conduct. Document any
risks you have identified, what control measures are implemented, and how you
are monitoring hazards.

Once your risk assessment is underway, you will have the satisfaction of
knowing you are helping to greatly improve the safety of workers in your
organization. You can also rest assured that you are in compliance with health
and safety law.

Further Information

AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety