Risk assessment and its work

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Risk assessment and its work

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What is a risk assessment? Risk assessment is a term used to describe the overall process or method where you: Identify hazards and risk factors that have the potential to cause harm (hazard identification). Analyze and evaluate the risk associated with that hazard (risk analysis, and risk evaluation). Determine appropriate ways to eliminate the hazard, or control the risk when the hazard cannot be eliminated (risk control). A risk assessment is a thorough look at your workplace to identify those things, situations, processes, etc. that may cause harm, particularly to people. After identification is made, you analyze and evaluate how likely and severe the risk is. When this determination is made, you can next, decide what measures should be in place to effectively eliminate or control the harm from happening.

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How are risks ranked or prioritized? Ranking or prioritizing hazards is one way to help determine which risk is the most serious and thus which to control first. Priority is usually established by taking into account the employee exposure and the potential for incident, injury or illness. By assigning a priority to the risks, you are creating a ranking or an action list. There is no one simple or single way to determine the level of risk. Nor will a single technique apply in all situations. The organization has to determine which technique will work best for each situation. Ranking hazards requires the knowledge of the workplace activities, urgency of situations, and most importantly, objective judgement.

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For simple or less complex situations, an assessment can literally be a discussion or brainstorming session based on knowledge and experience. In some cases, checklists or a probability matrix can be helpful. For more complex situations, a team of knowledgeable personnel who are familiar with the work is usually necessary.

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Severity ratings in this example represent: High: major fracture, poisoning, significant loss of blood, serious head injury, or fatal disease Medium: sprain, strain, localized burn, dermatitis, asthma, injury requiring days off work Low: an injury that requires first aid only; short-term pain, irritation, or dizziness Probability ratings in this example represent: High: likely to be experienced once or twice a year by an individual Medium: may be experienced once every five years by an individual Low: may occur once during a working lifetime

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What are methods of hazard control? Once you have established the priorities, the organization can decide on ways to control each specific hazard. Hazard control methods are often grouped into the following categories: Elimination (including substitution). Engineering controls. Administrative controls. Personal protective equipment. For more details, please see the OSH Answers Hazard Control.

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Risk assement management

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These risk ratings correspond to recommended actions such as: Immediately dangerous: stop the process and implement controls High risk: investigate the process and implement controls immediately Medium risk: keep the process going; however, a control plan must be developed and should be implemented as soon as possible Low risk: keep the process going, but monitor regularly. A control plan should also be investigated Very low risk: keep monitoring the process

Summary: Risk assessment is a term used to describe the overall process or method where you: Identify hazards and risk factors that have the potential to cause harm (hazard identification).

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