The Risk Assessment Procedure – Why It’s Necessary
From cradle to grave life is a risk assessment.
From the smallest most insignificant actions to large life-changing decisions, a risk assessment is usually a precursor the majority of these assessments are unconscious.
Some everyday life risk assessments may be of a more formal nature such as planning a holiday.
A Business Risk Assessment
The difference with a business risk assessment that must comply with health and safety laws is that they are formal and predetermined and before work takes place.
This is what makes them seem like a costly time-consuming imposition on your business.
Risk assessments are a necessity in today’s world of business and they must be accurate, relevant and up-to-date or they are useless.
So let’s be absolutely clear on what a risk assessment actually is.
Health and safety is all about hazards!
A hazard is anything that can cause harm to people or affect their health.
Hazards are the reason for health and safety.
No hazard here? No health and safety required here.
Risk assessments are simply a method to find hazards, assess their risk (or the likelihood of them occurring and the consequences if they do), and then working out how to eliminate them or reduce their risk.
Its hazards that main, hurt and kill people.
Identifying hazards, assessing their risk and controlling them is health and safety 101. You simply don’t have a health and safety system if you can’t identify known and potential hazards.
Almost daily in every country of the world businesses lose court cases because they either did not have a risk assessment or, as in so many cases, they did have a risk assessment but it was either not relevant to what was actually happening on the job or they didn’t monitor it to ensure the controls were actioned and updated as the job changed.
A hazard may be reported by someone but it’s only by the risk assessment that it’s assessed and eliminated or otherwise controlled’
Many risk assessments are created by the office girl who’s never actually attempted the task she’s assessing and then it’s filed away in a filing cabinet or a computer file never to see the light of day again.
Downloading a template or doing a paper risk assessment can also lead to frustrations.
Someone identifies another hazard or a step you missed now you need to write the whole thing again or, as in most cases, just ignore it it’s just too much hassle.
Okay, let’s outsource!
There are plenty of businesses around that thrive by creating the perception that writing a basic risk assessment is hard work and time-consuming, but for a very substantial fee, they’ll take the pain away.
This creates a bit of a Pandora’s box because an outside source almost never knows enough about how your business operates or the many processes that are performed daily.
It’s just like the office girl’s risk assessment. Your whole health and safety system has lost its credibility with the very people it’s supposed to protect – your workers.
Any smart lawyer will instantly see that it has little resemblance to what actually happens on the job and they can easily prove that it was a poor attempt to protect your workers.
Nobody knows the jobs, tasks and activities of your business like you and the workers who do the job.
Now you’re going to hear the cries of the “old school” and the macho men.
“Health and safety are just a waste of time”. You just need common sense and that’s not here today”.
So should I fire everyone with no common sense?
How would I test for that? and would that even be legal today?
Do accidents never happen around people with common sense then?
“We didn’t need all that safety crap when I was a boy”!
And, you didn’t have health and safety laws like we do today either!
Should I just break the law because they weren’t there when you were a boy?
Well, workers were less likely to take an employer to court then as they are today.
Just because you refuse to do what the law requires today, well buddy I’m not!
“Risk assessments are written by office workers who don’t know a damn thing about the job”!
You know you’re absolutely right.
YOU know the job, so as of today I want YOU to help me write a relevant risk assessment for the job you do.
Your name will be on it so everyone knows it was written by somebody who knows the job!
So we’ve learned that you need to include risk assessment as a business process.
It needs to be simple but relevant.
It needs to be based on what really happens on a job or process.
If this happens workers will recognize this immediately and validate it.
You and your workers are the only people who can make a genuine risk assessment of the tasks you perform in your business.
What you need is a simple more manageable process to make risk assessments easier.
Using Simple WorkSafe Risk Assessment wizard can help you.
Another option is the full management system of Simple WorkSafe with risk assessments included plus many other features.