5 steps for determining appropriate risk control measures
By Joanna Weekes
There are various factors (such as cost) that you should consider when you are deciding which risk control measures to use in your workplace. For instance, what type of health and safety hazard has been identified?
Step 1: Assess the likelihood of the risk associated with the hazard causing injury or illness: Is an accident or incident likely to result from the risks? If there is a high probability of injury, then you should consider taking action to reduce or eliminate the hazard. If there is a low probability of injury, you may decide not to take any action.
Step 2: Investigate the degree of harm that would result if the hazard or risk of the hazard is eventuated: Would an accident or incident result in severe harm or even death?
Step 3: Ask what the relevant workers know about the hazard or risk and anyways of eliminating or reducing it: Have you gathered information about the risk and possible ways of reducing or removing it?
Step 4: Evaluate the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or reduce the hazard or risk: Are appropriate remedial measures available on the market, or could they be manufactured or designed? Is there a different work process that could be adopted? (Use the hierarchy of control for this.)
Step 5: Balance the factors above with the cost of eliminating or reducing the hazard or risk.
If a risk is not foreseeable, it will generally not be reasonably practicable to control it. However, the duty to provide a safe workplace is a strict one!
If a risk is foreseeable, you must eliminate it; if that is not possible, you need to minimise it as much as possible.
Make sure that any measure you introduce to remedy a risk doesn’t create a new, greater risk. For example, personal protective equipment obscures vision and increases the risk of injury.
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