With National Safe Work Month well on its way in October what better way but to promote becoming a “Safety Champion” employer by encouraging all staff to participate in hazard identification in the workplace.
Hazard identification is part of the process used to evaluate if any particular situation, item, thing, etc. may have the potential to cause harm. The term often used to describe the full process is risk assessment: Identify hazards and risk factors that have the potential to cause harm (hazard identification).
It is the legal duty of an employer to maintain a safe working environment. A risk management system in your workplace can help you achieve this. Risk management involves conducting hazard identification and risk assessment, and implementing, monitoring and reviewing control measures to reduce risks to the health and safety of workers, contractors and visitors.
Risk Management is necessary to:
- Identify hazards in your workplace that could create health and safety risks; and
- Take reasonably practicable steps to control the risks and monitor the effectiveness of the control measures
What is a Risk Assessment?
A risk assessment is the second step in the risk management process. Once you have identified hazards in your workplace, you can conduct a risk assessment for each hazard to determine;
- How likely it is that exposure to that hazard will cause harm; and
- The severity of harm that is likely to result.
Risk assessments help to determine which hazards require the most urgent attention, i.e. by introducing control measures to eliminate or reduce any risk arising from those hazards. Risk assessments are not rigid processes and may be undertaken in different ways. For example, a risk assessment may:
- Be carried out by an individual or a group;
- Be conducted over a number of days;
- Consider whole tasks or the individual steps involved in a task; or
- Address whole systems in the workplace, e.g. the ventilation system.
The risk assessment ratings matrix can help you to establish a risk rating for each of the hazards you have identified in your workplace.
Risk = Likelihood (frequency) × Consequence (seriousness)
Using SafeWork Australia’s campaign kit, everyone can support a safety culture at their workplace and promote best practice work health and safety initiatives. You can download these free resources on the National Safe Work site by clicking here.
The MTA works with a number hosts, employers and members to manage their WHS systems. If you need any advice or assistance in conducting WHS Audits or Risk Assessments, please contact us by clicking here.