What is Risk Assessment all about?
Risk assessment is basically the process of looking at something and determining where things could go wrong and the probability they will.
A risk assessment is the examination and exploration of something in order to determine the things that can occur that will cause damage and the likelihood that they will occur. Risk assessments are conducted in order to mimise and "manage" risks, as prevention is always better than a cure.
What is a Hazard?
A hazard is anything that may cause harm. Although they may not cause harm in one form, there is always a "what if....?". Glass bottles can be considered a hazard. Normally they are fairly harmless - what if they are dropped? Electricity is a hazard. Whilst properly contained it is safe, what if...? To make life a little easier, we have divided the hazards into groups. These are then sub-divided. Not all the areas will be relevant to your work, but do not dismiss them without looking - You may find a risk that you hadn't thought of!
What's the definition of a "Risk"?
The risk is essentially the likelihood of something happening. What if the glass bottle is dropped? - there is a risk that someone could be cut. How do we minimize the risk? - Using a suitable control measure.
Often the best control measures will start with the words DO NOT . Do not use a glass bottle. This will eliminate the risk altogether. However, there are times when "do not" is not applicable. (All field work risks can be eliminated by the phrase - do not do field work!! - not very practical advice.) You then aim to reduce the risk. Ensure the bottle is packed in a box with enough packing material around it to prevent it from breaking; wear protective gloves when handling; ...... The risk of cutting yourself on the bottle is reduced.
Example of a Risk Assessment
The Risk Assessment form consists of a header page - where details of the project or task are given, a back page - where personnel involved with the work will sign to say they have read and understood the assessment and between these is the risk assessment itself. To fill in these middle pages, list the hazard categories that your work involves. Under each of the hazard headings, list the risks and then list the associated control measures.
An example can be down-loaded into your user-space as a Word file by clicking on the file name.
You can also down-load a template for your Risk Assessment as a Word 6.0 file.