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Risk ‘of what?’, ‘to what?’, ‘from what?’
May 16, 2019
“The truth is, is it not, that we can’t satisfy our increasingly sophisticated requirements and meet all the growing appetites of our consumer society and still hope to retain the green and pleasant fields of English rural society in undisturbed peace and security.
Is it not so that as in every discipline we break through barriers of knowledge and technology, we do by these very advances, which are to enrich life we make life yet more precarious. Just one slip and the abyss…………..” Flixborough memorial
To achieve freedom from danger (Safety), a sound system of hazard evaluation has to be in place. The very core of Health and Safety is Risk Assessment – without assessments, we fall back into the fix-it-after-the-incident-has-occurred, playing the game of catch up. Assessments guide us in knowing what to do and not do. Unfortunately there are far too many inadequate Risk Assessments that have the end result of allowing incidents to occur.
The most common pitfalls of these assessments are the inability to clarify three key points:
- ‘Of What?’ is the Risk? What would be the result of the incident? What harm may result?
- ‘To What?’ is the Risk or what harm may occur? Is it individual harm of collective (societal) harm?
- ‘From What?’ may the incident happen? This identifies the source of the hazard or hazards
A number of issues may negate the success of risk assessments. This may occur when the Risk Assessment is used to justify a decision already made which is really putting the cart before the horse. Assessment may only concentrate on one individual and not take into account the societal or group view. In-House assessments often fail by ignoring the necessity of site specific assessments and applying generic assessment when a site specific one is needed.
Assessments are best conducted by using a team of persons that are competent and knowledgeable of the process or task. An often forgotten issue is not following generally accepted good practice or not following the recommendations of the assessment.
EuroMaTech’s training course on Task Risk Assessments analyses all these issues and much more. Delegates attending will take away invaluable knowledge that can and should be used in their own organizations’.
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