A risk assessment is just what its sound like. It is the cornerstone of preventative measures against workplace accidents and ill-health.
Every year, millions of people worldwide are injured at work or have their health seriously damaged in the workplace. Whether they live in Europe, America or Asia, the risk of getting hurt is all present.
However, this matter affects some countries and companies less than others. So, why is that? There has to be sound reasoning behind this argument. And there is.
Apart from the regulations and law enforcement implemented at a state level, specific organizations also play a central role. Their internal policies make an immense contribution to workplace safety. Many employees even point to office security as a considerable concern in their day-to-day work lives.
For all these reasons, let’s take a deep dive into the realm of protecting people at their work stations.
Essential Definitions to Remember
It may be necessary to consider three definitions that directly pertain to assessing risks at the workplace.
- Hazards can be pretty much anything with the potential to cause harm, like equipment, work methods, practices, or material.
- Risks are a chance that a hazard may harm somebody. This includes the dangers of both high and low priority.
- Risk assessments make up the process of studying risks that hazards can have on workers’ safety and health.
Learning these three useful definitions can have a tremendous impact on your understanding of the issue.
How to Deal with Workplace Safety Problems
Risk assessments are the key to healthy workplaces. They are composed of a dynamic process that allow organizations and enterprises to install proactive policies for managing workplace risks. It’s all about predicting what may or may not occur while people are sitting behind their comfy desks or working outdoors.
Anything can happen anywhere, at any time. This is why all types of companies must carry out regular assessments. Searching for ways to avoid doing them can only harm a company. The benefits of implementing them far exceed the funds allocated for their execution. However, some job risks can have a more significant impact on employees’ lives than others.
For example, working in executive protection and being an employee of a food store has different implications. The job of an executive protection agent can be far more dangerous than that of a cashier. This is why there is such a broad range of risk assessments that organizations need to tailor to their specific needs. However, what they cannot adjust for is the necessity of conducting regular, in-depth evaluations.
Some things aren’t up for discussion, and it is clear that the implementation of risk assessments is one of them.
Companies conduct proper risk assessments to ensure that all relevant risks are taken into account. Not just the obvious or immediate ones, because the domain of potential hazards is as vast as any other in the industry. Next, an organization needs to check the efficiency of the safety measures it has adopted. When done doing that, it must document the outcomes and evaluate the assessment regularly to keep it up to date.
But that’s not all there is to the process.
The Five Steps to Conduct a Proper Risk Assessment
Firstly, discover the hazards that could harm your workforce. Employers, leaders, and companies need to assess their workers’ safety and health risks. The employer should examine the workplace for mental, physical, biological, and chemical hazards. It is the company’s duty to handle this issue, not the employees’.
Many organizations divide hazards into:
- Physical, like awkward postures, slips and trips, lifting, noise, dust, and computer equipment.
- Mental, such as long hours, excessive workload, bullying, working with high-need clients etc.
- Chemical – like having to deal with asbestos, aerosols, and cleaning fluids.
- Biological – such as working with tuberculosis, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases that healthcare workers and other health professionals face.
Secondly, determine who could be harmed and how. Apart from full- and part-time employees, an employer needs to assess the risks involving agencies and contract staff, visitors, and clients. Additionally, other members of the public must also be an essential topic while considering risks.
Companies should evaluate work routines in different situations and locations where they involve their staff. For instance, home care administrators must bear in mind their client’s personal safety in the home.
Furthermore, counterintuitively, hazards in supermarkets happen in repetitive tasks at the checkout. Apart from that, risks arise during lifting loads, slips, and trips from spillages and obstacles in the shop and storerooms. Last but not least: customers and intruders can pose a risk to staff members, especially in the evenings.