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Introduction:

To introduce this module, ask delegates what risks theyve taken today.
Ask delegates to call out their answers. If no one responds, ask them a specific question
for example, did any of you drive into work today? or did you make a hot drink this
morning?
Remember:
Risk is part of everyones life we cant avoid risks but we can put things in place to manag
e them effectively.
Scenario 1:
Learning to drive involves a degree of risk. Because they were learning, theyd have had a
qualified instructor sitting next to them, so the risk would have been well managed.
Explain to delegates that the cyclist is a hazard. If the driving instructor hadnt been there,
the cyclist might have been knocked off his bike. So the risk has been well managed.
Scenario 2:
Imagine that they own a warehouse distribution company.
The warehouse is an old building and the roof is in need of some repair. The delegates
are concerned about poor weather, since this could damage the building and its contents. In
these circumstances, rain would certainly be a threat to the building and its contents. A few
moments of rain, sleet or snow wouldnt make any difference, but a long downpour would
be much more of a problem. So the question they have to ask is: how likely is it to rain?
If they decided to do nothing about the roof, and one night it did rain, the extent of the
damage would depend on the contents of the warehouse and their value.
The contents could be plastic garden furniture designed to be outside in all weathers,
which can be easily dried off. In this case thered be little damage.
If the contents were television sets, theyd be completely ruined by the rain. Stock would
have to be written off at a large cost to their company.
If the contents were television sets, theyd be completely ruined by the rain. Stock would
have to be written off at a large cost to their company.
On top of that, they might conclude that the chance of a downpour happening at all is
much higher in the winter than in the summer. So, if they were trying to decide whether to fix
the roof or leave it in its current condition, theyd probably ask themselves two questions:
what are the chances itll rain, and what could get damaged if it did?
Hazard: a hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm. This could
be something as specialized as a piece of complicated machinery, or as

commonplace as a cup of coffee. If it could be harmful in any way, then its a


hazard.
Hazardous Event: hazardous event takes place when someone or something
interacts with a hazard, and harm results.

Remember: theres a hole in the ground. The hole (the hazard) by itself isnt causing any
harm, but if someone tripped over it (the hazardous event), itd become harmful.
Examples:
A trailing cable is a hazard and tripping over the cable is a hazardous event
Electricity is a hazard and a person coming into contact with a live electrical conductor is a
hazardous event.

Remember: Every hazardous event has a likelihood and consequence.


Likelihood: Likelihood is a measure of the chance that the hazardous event will occur.
Consequences: Consequence is the outcome of the hazardous event.
Result of hazardous event:
1. Serious injury
2. No injury, with damage to the box and its contents only.
Risk: risk is the combination of the likelihood of a hazardous event occurring and the
consequence of the event.
Risk assessing Scenario 1: Wet floor
- Whats the hazard?
- whats the hazardous event?
- Whats the likelihood?
- Whats the consequence?
Answer:
Explain to delegates that the hazard is the
Wet floor. The hazardous event is slipping on the wet floor. The likelihood of this hazardous
event depends on how many people are walking in the area. The wet floor is close to a
main walkway and it seems to be nearly one oclock a time when people will be going to
lunch. So we might consider that its likely that someone will slip. The consequence of
slipping may be nothing other than damaged pride, but we might consider the probable
consequence to be an injury that would need medical attention. Alternatively, if we assume
that its the middle of the night and that there are fewer people around, the likelihood of the
hazardous event occurring is lower.
Risk assessing scenario 2: Running worker
Answer:
Explain to delegates that the hazard is rushing around. The hazardous event is stumbling.
The likelihood of tripping will depend on the unevenness of the surface, the condition of the
workers footwear, how hes moving and how tired he is. The consequence, as in the
previous example, may range from nothing to a serious injury.
Risk assessing scenario 3: Latex Gloves

Answer:
Explain to delegates that the hazard is latex gloves. The hazardous event is an allergic
reaction to latex. The likelihood is dependent on whether the worker has a latex allergy. The
consequences of handling latex gloves will vary. For people who arent allergic, therell be
no adverse consequences. However, for those who are allergic, the consequence could be
fatal.
Risk assessing scenario 4: CO Boiler
Answer:
Explain to delegates that the hazard is incomplete combustion (leading to carbon
monoxide emission). The hazardous event is human exposure to carbon monoxide.
The likelihood of carbon monoxide exposure will depend on how well the boiler is working
and particularly on how well the combustion process is working. The consequences may
include tiredness, drowsiness, headaches, giddiness, nausea, vomiting, and pains in the
chest, breathlessness, stomach pains, erratic behaviour and visual problems and ultimately
death.

Risk assessment:
Risk assessment is a means of making sure that the most serious workplace risks are
managed by cost-effective control measures. Assessing risks allows delegates to prioritize
the action they take to control them. In this module we discuss how to assess risk. In
Module 3, well look at ways of controlling risk.
Or
A risk assessment is a careful examination of anything in the delegates workplace that
could cause people to suffer injury or ill health while theyre at work.
Benefits of carrying out risk assessment:
Explain to delegates that carrying out risk assessments helps them to meet their legal
requirements. All employers and self-employed people have a legal obligation to carry out
risk assessments. If they dont, they could face prosecution and fines.
Carrying out risk assessments helps them to demonstrate good business practice and
improve business performance. Understanding the risks that face their business will help
them to manage it better, with:
potential cost savings
reduced insurance premiums
enhanced reputation.
Carrying out risk assessments helps them to tell whether theyre doing enough to protect

their workforce and others from harm. Are they, for example, providing enough:
training
information
personal protective equipment
health surveillance

Legal Requirement:

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require that all
employers and self-employed people do risk assessments on the health and safety hazards
in their workplaces. If you employ five people or more, you need to record the assessments
in writing. That said, it's a good idea to write them down anyway so that you have a written
record. While undertaking risk assessments helps employers to meet their legal obligations,
there are many other benefits to be gained, too.
How risk assessment protecting the workforce and others from harm?
Risk assessment allows valuable information to be gathered to help with:
changing unsafe working practices
assessing current and future training needs
identifying groups at risk (members of staff, contractors, visitors, customers, members of
the public)
identifying specific hazards that need specialist advice
evaluating the effectiveness of current control measures (such as supervision, machinery
guarding, personal protective equipment).

Case studies
Case study 1
A nurse, who had a long history of back complaints, was required to do work involving
heavy manual handling of patients. She wasnt sent to the occupational health department
to assess her fitness. The work aggravated her injuries and resulted in surgery and
retirement on grounds of ill health. She claimed compensation from her employers and was
awarded 16,000. The judgment recognized the failure of the employer to carry out a
manual handling risk assessment.

Case study 2
A kitchen designer and manufacturer felt that he wasnt realizing the full potential of the
workforce he wanted to get them more involved in all aspects of the business. Weekly
meetings now cover everything, including risks! The business owner commented: Since
weve been talking about risk, were more aware of potential hazards in 16 months we
havent had a single injury.
Case study 3
A company providing services to the travel industry assessed the risks of its shrinkwrapping facilities. As a result, it was able to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries to
employees, get staff involved with risk assessment and develop better business processes.
The company is now aiming for quality management certification and also targeting bigger
customers, who expect to see proof that their suppliers are taking health and safety
seriously.
Remember:
Accidents and ill health can have a devastating effect they can ruin lives and
businesses.
Risk Assessment:
First stage of carrying out a risk assessment is to make a list of the work tasks that are
their responsibility. Anything in their workplace that they manage the activities that take
place, the people involved in those activities, the equipment they use and the different
locations they work in can be a hazard in some circumstances. Thats why its essential
that they make a list of everything they manage.
Advise:
The best way to do this is to walk around the workplace and see for themselves whats
going on. If they dont do this, its possible that a hazard could be overlooked and therefore
not included in the risk assessment.

Key stages of risk assessment:


The key stages in the risk assessment process are:
1. List work tasks what do workers do and where do they do it?
2. Identify the risks what are the hazards, who might be harmed and how?
3. Estimate the risks whats the likelihood the hazardous event will happen and what
might the consequences be?
4. Evaluate the risks what action do you need to take to deal with the risk?
5. Record your findings what do you need to note?
6. Review your findings when do you need to revisit your assessment?
1: Identify work tasks
where are the tasks taking place? (location)

whos doing them? (people)


what are they doing them with? (equipment)
what are they doing? (activities)

2: Identifying the risks


This step in the risk assessment process is best carried out using multiple sources of
information:
observe the physical layout at each location and the activities being carried out
speak to workers and their representatives (as appropriate) to find out if they consider anything
in the workplace to be a hazard
inspect relevant records, for example accident records, manufacturers instructions or data
sheets
read up on the hazards relevant to the activities taking place.
Hazard checklists are a useful way to record the hazards identified and can be used when
taking regular tours or walks around the workplace. In many cases, the hazards identified in
these workplace tours may not need a formal risk assessment. For example, a trip hazard from
a trailing cable can be remedied immediately by taping over the cable and in the longer term by
rerouting the cable. However, if you use only a walk-through tour to identify hazards, theres a
possibility that a hazard may not be present at the time of the tour. Taking advantage of all the
options to identify hazards gives a more complete picture.

3: Estimate the risk


This involves the estimation of the
Likelihood
Consequence
Factors affecting likelihood
When were assessing likelihood, we need to consider any factors that may influence the
chance that the hazardous event may occur. For example, in the case of the window
cleaner falling from the ladder, we need to consider a number of factors, for given weather
conditions, including:
the stability of the ladder
the condition of the rungs
the type of footwear
the lighting levels.
More generally, factors that can be useful in estimating likelihood are:
the number of people doing the task, how often they do it and for how long
any work pressures, such as productivity bonuses
the competence of the workers
whether current risk controls are adequate
environmental conditions, such as the weather.

Factors affecting consequence


When were assessing consequence, we need to consider any factors that may influence
the seriousness of a hazardous event. For example, in the case of the window cleaner
falling from the ladder, we need to consider:
the height of the fall
whether theres anything to help stop the fall
what the person falls onto.

However, remember the comments made about considering consequence as a


distribution of probable outcomes. Low falls can lead to very serious injuries, especially if
people land on their heads; conversely, people have been known to fall more than 6 metres
and land on their feet, suffering only slight injury.
More generally, information sources that are helpful in deciding consequences include:
potential for harm (toxicity data, dimensions)
potential magnitude of the harm
history of the harm
potential population at risk.
4: Evaluate the risks
Risk rating
Action
1-2
Acceptable no further action but ensure controls are maintained
3-4
Tolerable look to improve
6-9
Unacceptable take immediate action
Designed 5 matrix by delegate
The consequences could be ranked as:
Insignificant no injury
Minor minor injuries
Moderate up to three days absence
Major more than three days absence
Catastrophic death.

Risk rating
1-4
5-9
10-16
17-25

Action
Acceptable no further action but ensure controls are maintained
Adequate but look to improve at review
Tolerable but look to improve within specified timescale
Unacceptable stop activity and make immediate improvements

5: Recording your findings

Now theyve completed the risk assessment, theyll need to record their significant
findings, either electronically or as a paper copy. This is not only good practice but its also a
legal requirement if they employ five or more people.
It doesnt matter what form they use to record their findings it could be a risk assessment

form similar to the one on page 40 of their workbooks, or one of their own. What matters
is that the information they record about the activity for example, the hazard, the
likelihood and consequence of the hazard, and the risk level is all there.
In general, its helpful to record:
Details of the person carrying out the risk assessment
The date and time of the assessment
Details of the location, equipment and activity theyre assessing
The hazards theyve identified, together with the risk level
Existing control measures and how well they work
The date for review of the assessment.
6: Review your findings

Its good practice to review assessments annually or sooner, especially if changes occur
or new information comes to light. Some examples are:
after new legislation
after an accident
after new equipment or procedures are introduced.

Where risk ratings are low, regular reviewing is still necessary in order to ensure that the
risk rating stays low.

Work activity/equipment/location

Hazard

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Passing a pen to a colleague


Electrically powered equipment
Carrying a heavy computer
Working under pressure
Working at a workstation
Computer screen position
Carrying drinks
Storing bags
Accessing files
Reading while walking
Handling broken toner cartridge
Boxes holding open fire door

Throwing the pen across the office


Overloaded sockets electric shock, power failure or fire
Musculoskeletal problems
Anxiety and stress
Musculoskeletal problems
Glare from the sun
Slip and trip
Slip and trip
Standing on chair
Slip and trip
Hazardous substance
Fire

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14

Work activity/equipment/location
Working without gloves
Manager shouting at employee about the time
Using forklift while smoking
Boxes stacked high on a pallet
Stacking boxes
Working without a hat
Eating and drinking
Leaking machine
Working under pressure
Leaning over machine
Potatoes on the floor
Walking across a non-pedestrian area
Carrying boxes
Visitors not wearing PPE

Hazard
Food contamination
Bullying
Fire
Forklift driver cant see where hes going
Twisting while stacking boxes
Food contamination
Food contamination
Slip and trip
Anxiety and Stress
Poor posture
Slip and trip
Transport
Size and shape of load
Food contamination

Work activity/equipment/location

Hazard

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15

Working on scaffold
Pallet of bricks
Working with no hard hat
Carrying bricks
Using a mitre saw
Lifting gravel with shovel
Manual handling twisting while digging
Looking at site plans
Using pneumatic drill
Working near heavy vehicles
Trailing cable
Pedestrians walking by
Metal plate under scaffold
Open hole
Scaffolding

Falling from height


Bricks falling
Being hit by a falling brick
Straining
Flying debris/trailing cable
Damaged hands
Musculoskeletal problems
Falling down nearby hole
Noise and vibration exposure
Being run over
Trip and slip
Exposure to work activities
Trip and slip/scaffold stability
Someone could fall down it
It could collapse and injure someone