Risk Management & Assessment at UQ

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1 Risk Management & Assessment at UQ Course Overview: This training module has been developed for workers at the University of Queensland, and forms part of the OH&S training program at UQ. The aim of this course is to introduce UQ workers to the University s Risk Management Program. The following topics are covered: What is risk management? What is a risk assessment? Supervisor and worker responsibilities Hazards and Risks Hierarchy of controls Online risk assessments on the UQ Risk Management Database 17 April 2012, v2.3 1

2 What is Risk Management? Risk Management is a process for controlling exposure to health and safety risks associated with hazards in the workplace. Risk Management involves: a careful examination of what could cause harm to you and the people around you in your workplace; weighing up whether you have taken enough precautions, or whether you should do more to prevent harm; and controlling exposure to prevent harm. The aim is to ensure no one gets hurt or becomes ill that a person returns home safely after work. 2

3 Risk Assessment A risk assessment is a tool/technique within a risk management program to systematically assess the risks associated with identified hazards. A risk assessment enables prioritisation of those hazards that have the greatest potential to cause harm to workers, enabling greater focus on the risks that really matter. The University has a Risk Management Database to assist UQ Staff and Students to create, manage, organise and maintain records of their Risk Assessments, 3

4 UQ Risk Management Database The UQ Risk Management Database is an online database that enables UQ Staff and Students to complete risk assessments online, using the skills and knowledge acquired from completion of this learning module. The database is searchable, which facilitates the sharing of knowledge amongst users, as well as the ongoing development and review of risk assessments and safety controls. The database enables Supervisors to review and approve risk assessments online, and automatically s users when actions are required. Training in the use of the database software, if desired/required, is available via the UQ Staff Development program, 4

5 Effective Risk Management To be effective, risk management programs must involve all relevant workers and researchers in the process through active and engaging consultation. Risk assessments should be completed by the persons undertaking the tasks/activities, with assistance from supervisors, managers, experienced colleagues and safety coordinators. Specialist advisers from the OH&S Division can also be contacted for specialist safety advice, if required. Risk assessments should consider potential interactions with colleagues and other workers e.g. researchers sharing the facilities, maintenance staff, security officers, clients or cleaners who may visit the facilities. Supervisors must ensure that risk assessments are completed satisfactorily, and that the control measures identified are effective and implemented. Records of risk management activities must be maintained for auditing purposes. Risk assessments must be reviewed regularly to ensure hazards and risks are being effectively managed. 5

6 OH&S Responsibilities Supervisors must ensure risk assessments are completed satisfactorily and approved appropriately. Supervisors must also verify that identified safety controls are implemented and followed. Workers undertaking or performing the tasks and activities must participate and be involved in the risk assessment process completing and/or reviewing relevant risk assessments, as appropriate. Work Health & Safety Coordinators (WHSC) are available to advise both Supervisors and Workers on the use of the UQ Risk Management Database, and are required to audit at least 20% of active Risk Assessments for the purposes of system integrity and quality control. 6

7 Risk Management 4 Steps 1. Identify the hazards find out what could cause harm 2. Assess risks understand the nature of the harm that could be caused by the hazard, how serious the harm could be, and the likelihood of it happening 3. Control risks implement the most effective control measure that is reasonably practicable in the circumstances 4. Review the control measures ensure controls are working as planned Reference: How to manage work health and safety risks. Code of Practice

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9 Define the context Before approaching the 4 steps it is important to consider the context in which the risk management process takes place. This is achieved by considering / identifying the following: work processes, practices, activities and tasks that will be analysed in the risk management process and the steps involved how risks may interact with one another - one activity may effect risks in another the people involved in carrying out those work processes and in what capacity whether the people involved are sufficiently competent/skilled/experienced what items of plant or materials are used Achieving the above requires extensive consultation, including all the people doing the task, employers, safety coordinators and experts. It could also extend to suppliers or manufacturers of plant or materials used in your workplace. 9

10 Step 1 - Identify the hazards Identifying hazards in the workplace involves finding things and situations that could potentially cause harm to people. Ask the question does this task / activity / situation / event have the potential to harm a person? Hazards generally arise from the following aspects of work and their interaction: physical work environment equipment, materials and substances used work tasks and how they are performed work design and management 10

11 Understanding hazards and risks The terms Hazard and Risk are essential in the risk management process. It is important to have a clear understanding of what they mean and the differences between them. Hazard means a situation or thing that has the potential to harm a person. Hazards at work may include: noisy machinery, a moving forklift, chemicals, electricity, working at heights, a repetitive job, bullying at the workplace. Risk is the possibility that harm (death, injury or illness) might occur when exposed to a hazard. 11

12 Hazard and Risks (continued)... The hazard is electricity. The risk is the likelihood that a worker might be electrocuted because of exposure to electrical wires that are inadequately insulated. The hazard is a 40kg bag. The risk is the likelihood that a worker might suffer back strain from manually lifting 40kg bags. The hazard is carbon monoxide. The risk is the likelihood that a worker might suffer carbon monoxide poisoning because they are using a petrol operated pump in a well. The table on the following slide lists some common workplace hazards... 12

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14 Step 2 - Assess risks Decide who might be harmed and how. What is the harm? How serious could the harm be? What is the likelihood of it happening? A risk assessment involves consideration of what could happen if someone is exposed to a hazard and the likelihood of it happening. A risk assessment can help you determine: how severe a risk is whether existing control measures are effective what action you should take to control the risk how urgently the action needs to be taken 14

15 Key variables for determining Risk Rating 1. Consequences Hazards have the potential to cause different types and severities of harm, ranging from minor discomfort to a serious injury or death. 2. Exposure How often is the activity done? How often are workers near the hazard? 3. Probability The likelihood that the consequences will occur once an individual is exposed to the hazard. Could be practically impossible, unlikely or almost certain. Consequences x Exposure x Probability = Risk Rating 15

16 Consequences What is the most likely consequence (injury/illness) if the safety controls failed and an interaction with the hazard occurred? Consequence Definition / examples... Minor injury Substantial Serious Very Serious Disaster Catastrophe Requires first aid treatment, minor cuts, bruises, bumps, minor damage Disabling injury requiring medical treatment An amputation or permanent disability A single fatality Multiple fatalities Numerous fatalities 16

17 Exposure How often do the workers have interaction with the hazard? Exposure Definition / examples... Very Rare Extremely rare (has not yet occurred) Rare Hardly ever occurs (but has been known to occur) Unusual Does not occur often (from once per month to once per year) Occasional Sometimes occurs (from once per week to once per month) Frequent Occurs often (approximately once daily) Continuous Occurs repeatedly (or many times daily) 17

18 Probability Estimate the likelihood that adverse consequences will occur. Take into account the exposure level and the safety controls that are in place. Probability Definition / Examples... Practically impossible Conceivable but unlikely Remotely possible Unusual but possible Quite possible Almost certain Has never happened after many years of exposure, and is virtually impossible Has never happened after many years of exposure, but is conceivably possible Would be a remotely possible coincidence Would be an unusual sequence or coincidence Is quite possible, not unusual, 50/50 chance The most likely and expected result if the hazard event takes place 18

19 Risk Matrix The UQ Risk Management database has an inbuilt risk matrix calculator to assist you to calculate the risk level for a particular task/activity. 19

20 Step 3 Control the risks The most important step in managing risks involves eliminating them so far as is reasonably practicable, or if that is not possible, minimising the risks so far as is reasonably practicable. In deciding how to control risks, all persons involved in the tasks/activities must be consulted to ensure appropriate control measures are selected, and to increase the level of acceptance of changes that may be required. What are the existing safety controls? Are they effective? Do controls protect everyone from harm? What additional controls are required? 20

21 How to control risks There are many ways to control risks. Some control measures are more effective than others. You must consider various control options and choose the control that most effectively eliminates the hazard or minimises the risk in the circumstances. This may involve a single control measure or a combination of different controls that together provide the highest level of protection that is reasonably practicable. Some problems can be fixed easily and should be done straight away, while others will need more effort and planning to resolve. Of those requiring more effort, you should prioritise areas for action, focusing first on those hazards with the highest level of risk. 21

22 The priority for treatment of risks can be determined from the Risk Matrix High or very high - Do something about these risks immediately Substantial or moderate - Do something about these risks as soon as possible Low - These risks are normally acceptable 22

23 Deciding on control measures A control is something which is implemented in the workplace to reduce the likelihood of a hazard causing you or your fellow workers harm. Consider the following: Is there legislation / a regulation describing how to prevent or minimise the risk in relation to the identified hazard? Is there a code of practice relating to the specific hazard? What existing controls are already in place? Are controls as high as possible in hierarchy of control priorities? Are the existing controls effective? Do controls protect everyone who is potentially exposed to harm? What additional controls may be required? 23

24 Deciding on control measures (continued)... If there is a provision in the WHS Act 2011 or the WHS Regulation 2011 about any hazards you have identified in your workplace then you must control the risks associated with those hazards in the way specified. If there is a Code of Practice (COP) about any of the hazards you have identified then you must do what the code of practice says or adopt and follow another way that gives the same level of protection against the risks. If there is no direction within the act / regulation / COP you must consider the hierarchy of control measures when deciding on the most appropriate control measures for the situation. 24

25 Hierarchy of controls Control measures should be implemented in the following order: 1. Get rid of the harm or prevent the risk. If elimination is not possible: 2. Replace with something less harmful. 3. Separate people from the harm. 4. Change work processes or the physical work environment e.g. by redesigning premises, tools, machinery, equipment or plant. 5. Apply administrative arrangements, e.g. training, safety signs, limit entry or time spent in a hazardous area. 6. Use personal protective equipment (PPE). 25

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27 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) PPE should only be considered as an appropriate control measure when exposure to a risk cannot be minimised in any other way, or when used in conjunction with other control measures as a final barrier between the worker and the hazard. PPE is clothing, equipment or substances designed to be worn by someone to protect them from risks of injury or illness when exposed to a hazard. PPE is considered to be the least effective control as it does not control the hazard at the source. However, PPE can assist to protect the user when/if they are exposed to the hazard, and thus is an important control measure when used appropriately. 27

28 PPE (continued)... Where PPE has been identified as a necessary control, it is imperative that: PPE is used in accordance with the manufacturers instructions PPE is appropriate to the task and fits correctly Workers are instructed and trained in the correct use and fit of required PPE All PPE is clean, easily accessible and maintained in good working order Appropriate signs are displayed to remind workers where/when PPE must be used Instruction and training should cover arrangements for the provision, correct use, storage and maintenance of PPE, and should be completed: when new workers start work when new PPE is issued at regular intervals to refresh memory 28

29 Implementing the chosen controls Implementing the selected control measures may require changes to the way work is carried out due to new or modified equipment; new processes; updated work procedures; new or different chemicals; and/or new PPE. In these situations, it is usually necessary to support the new control measures with: Written work procedures Review/develop a standard operating procedure (SOP) that describes the task, identifies the hazards and documents how the task is to be performed to minimise the risks. Training, instruction and information Train your workers in the reviewed work procedure to ensure that they are able to perform the task safely. Information and instruction may also need to be provided to others who enter the workplace, such as service technicians, students or visitors. Supervision The level of supervision required will depend on the level of risk and the experience of the workers involved. High levels of supervision are necessary where inexperienced workers are expected to follow new procedures or carry out difficult and critical tasks. 29

30 Ensuring controls remain effective Accountability for health and safety Accountability should be clearly allocated to ensure procedures are followed and maintained. Managers and supervisors should be provided with the authority and resources to implement and maintain control measures effectively. Maintenance of plant and equipment This will involve regular inspection and testing, repair or replacement of damaged or worn plant and equipment. It includes checking that any control measures are suitable for the nature and duration of work, are set up and used correctly. 30

31 Ensuring controls remain effective (continued)... Up-to-date training and competency Control measures, particularly lower level controls, depend on all workers and supervisors having the appropriate competencies to do the job safely. Training should be provided to maintain competencies and to ensure new workers are capable of working safely. Up-to-date hazard information Information about hazards, such as plant and substances, may be updated by manufacturers and suppliers and should be checked to make sure controls are still relevant. New technology may provide more effective solutions than were previously available. Changes to operating conditions or the way activities are carried out may also mean that control measures need to be updated. Regular review and consultation Control measures are more effective where there is regular review of work procedures and consultation with your workers and their representatives. 31

32 Step 4 Review the control measures The control measures that have been put in place must be reviewed regularly to ensure they are working as planned. The following questions should be asked: Are the control measures working effectively in both their design and operation? Have the control measures introduced new problems? Have new work methods, new equipment or chemicals made the job safer? Are safety procedures being followed? Has instruction and training provided to workers on how to work safely been successful? Are workers actively involved in identifying hazards and possible control measures? Are they openly raising health and safety concerns and reporting problems promptly? Is the frequency and severity of health and safety incidents reducing over time? If new legislation or new information becomes available, does it indicate current controls may no longer be the most effective? 32

33 Review the control measures (continued)... The following actions can also assist to verify that implemented controls are effective: Consultation with workers Observation of work processes and worker behaviour Monitoring the workplace environment e.g. swabs; air samples Health Surveillance programs e.g. blood samples; hearing tests Regular workplace and hazard inspections to ensure all hazards have been identified, risk assessed and controlled If problems are found, go back through the risk management steps, review your information and make further decisions about risk control. Priority for review should be based on the seriousness of the risk. Control measures for serious risks should be reviewed more frequently. 33

34 Keeping records The UQ Risk Management Database maintains comprehensive records of the risk management process at UQ. This, allows you to demonstrate how decisions about controlling risks were made assists in targeting training at key hazards provides a basis for preparing safe/standard operating procedures (SOPs) allows you to more easily review risks following any changes to legislation or business/research activities demonstrates to others (regulators, managers, granting bodies) that work health and safety risks are being managed All University staff have students have automatic access to the UQ Risk Management Database, 34

35 When should you do risk assessments? As soon as possible, if a risk assessment has not yet been completed for your work tasks / activities Whenever any new work is planned During research ethics and OGTR* approval processes Whenever a significant change occurs After an incident or an accident At 5 yearly intervals. * OGTR: The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator Evidence of risk assessment may be requested during an investigation of a workplace incident or accident to assist to verify that suitable effort was made to eliminate or minimise the risk so far as is reasonably practicable. 35

36 How do you complete Risk Assessments at UQ? By following the instructions in the UQ Risk Management Database. Options to get you started (depending on your level of experience): 1. Self-directed / self-paced learning and practice, Via the UQ Risk Management TRAINING Database 2. Assisted Training, From your local WHSC => Find your local WHSC Via the UQ Staff Development program => Book training now! 3. Already confident? Complete your risk assessment now, on the LIVE UQ Risk Management Database 36

37 Assessment You have now completed the University of Queensland Risk Management & Assessment at UQ training. If you would like to revise any of the topics covered before you begin the assessment, please use the quick find index to navigate to a particular topic. You will be asked a set of randomly selected questions. The pass mark is 80%. You may repeat the test as many times as you require. Each time you attempt the assessment, you will be presented with a different set of questions. Assessment location Please close this module, and return to the OH&S Inductions & Training webpage within your (Blackboard) profile. Select the relevant assessment to complete your test. 37

identify hazards, analyze or evaluate the risk associated with that hazard, and determine appropriate ways to eliminate or control the hazard.

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