Risk assessment is a process that involves identifying hazards, evaluate and analyze risk associated with identified hazards, and determine the most appropriate ways of controlling or eliminating the hazards. In practical terms is a thorough look at the workplace to identify situations, processes, and those things that are likely to cause harm, especially to people, and then decide measures that control the harm from occurring after evaluating likelihood and severity.
While the risk assessment is part of legal requirements, from an ethical perspective the main objective is to make sure no one is injured or killed or become ill at the work place. Carrying out the risk assessment and preparing safety assessment does not prevent accidents in themselves, but the play crucial role in reducing the likelihood.
Workplace procedure, behavior, and practice should reflect safe working practices and audits should be carried out to determine how well practices set down are being achieved, and corrective action should be implemented when required. Risk assessment help in creating awareness of risk and hazards, identify the population at risks such as public, employees or visitors, determine existing control measures, prioritize control measures, and hazards, and prevent illness or injuries. In addition, the importance of risk assessment includes:
Considerable evidence inferred from company practical experience demonstrates that effective safety and health management contribute to business success. Work related injury and ill health inflict significant cost that is often underestimated and hidden.
Ethical and moral reason
Employers, employee, and everybody in the workplace is bound to do all they can to ensure that other people do not suffer from injury, illness, and deaths. Thus, while preparing safety statement and carrying out the risk assessment and implementing required control actions reflects moral obligations.
Carrying out the risk assessment and adopting appropriate control mechanism and actions is central to a legal requirement. Inspectors from Health and Safety Authority occasionally visit different workplace to know how employers and management are implementing safety and health requirements. They scrutinize the safety assessment, risk assessment statement, work practice, procedures, and investigate any related accidents. If any one of these is found out to be inadequate, employers or managements are asked to revise it. Inadequate adherence to risk assessment and safety statement can result in prosecution, hence keeping records of assessment and control action adopted is crucial. Often the level of documentation depends on the degree of risk involved, legislated requirements, and requirement of management system put in place.
David Milberg is a financial expert from New York City.