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1 Risk Assessment Introduction The assessment of risk is central to the management of health and safety. The purpose of this is to assist in identifying those measures which are needed to remove or otherwise control the risks and to mitigate any consequences. The provision of information, instruction and training, along with the degree of supervision, also constitute control measures. It requires an assessment of the work related risks to employees, students, visitors and members of the public arising out of an activity. It is also necessary to consider whether there are any specific groups of individuals who could be at particular risk under some circumstances, i.e. disabilities affecting their ability to evacuate the building in an emergency, adverse effects on pregnancy or other medical conditions. Risk assessment in a division can be considered as falling into one of two groups, namely general or specific. General assessments would apply where there are common hazards or activities to the division. Specific assessments are related to a particular task such as use of a particular piece of equipment or carrying out of a specific procedure. Whilst assessments in general use across the division are best carried out at the division level, the specific assessments should be performed by the individuals responsible for the work areas where these work activities occur since they will have the greatest knowledge of the activities being carried out. Risk assessment process guide Step 1 Identify the hazards and area Walk around and identify the area to be assessed and look at what could reasonably be expected to cause harm. Ask users of the area, or their representatives, what they think, since their knowledge may provide valuable insight. Check the accident records since these may also help to identify the less obvious hazards. Remember to think about long-term hazards to health (e.g. high levels of noise or

2 exposure to harmful substances) as well as short-term safety hazards. Step 2 Determine who might be harmed For each hazard identified in Step 1, list the person/group, who might be harmed; it will help you identify the best way of managing the risk. Pay attention to area users that may have particular requirements, e.g. new users, children, expectant mothers or people with disabilities, may be exposed to different risks. Extra thought will be needed for some hazards, cleaners, visitors, contractors, and maintenance workers etc., who may not be familiar with the members of the public, if they could be hurt by the activities. Step 3 Evaluation and decision First, look at what step1 and step2 have shown and think about what controls are in place and how the work is organized. Then to see if there s more actions which should be done to bring the condition up to standard. The below questions should be asked: 1. Can the hazard be removed altogether? 2. If not, how could the risk is controlled so that harm is unlikely? When controlling risks, apply following principles, where possible in this order: 1. Try a less risky option (e.g. switch to using a less hazardous chemical) 2. Prevent access to the hazard (e.g. by guarding) 3. Organize work to reduce exposure to the hazard (e.g. put barriers between pedestrians and traffic) 4. Issue personal protective equipment (e.g. clothing, footwear, goggles etc.) 5. Provide welfare facilities (e.g. first aid and washing facilities for removal of contamination). Improving health and safety need not cost a lot. For instance, placing a mirror on a dangerous blind corner to help prevent vehicle accidents is a low-cost precaution. Failure to take simple precautions can cost a lot more if an accident does happen. Encourage users to participate in the process, since they can help in identifying hazards and suggesting solutions. This could reduce the introduction of new hazards and encourage users to follow agreed and accepted controls.

3 Step 4 Actions implementation Publish the results of the risk assessment, and share them with users. Keep it simple, for example Tripping over rubbish: bins provided, staff instructed, weekly housekeeping checks, or Fumes from welding: local exhaust ventilation used and regularly checked. Make a plan of action to deal with the most important things first. A good plan of action often includes a mixture of different things such as: a few cheap or easy improvements that can be done quickly, perhaps as a temporary solution until more reliable controls are in place; long-term solutions to those risks most likely to cause accidents or ill health; long-term solutions to those risks with the worst potential consequences; arrangements for training employees on the main risks that remain and how they are to be controlled; regular checks to make sure that the control measures stay in place; and clear responsibilities who will lead on what action, and by when. Remember to prioritise and tackle the most important things first and, as you complete each action, tick it off the plan. Step 5 Review the risk assessment and update if necessary Few areas stay the same for long and new equipment, substances and procedures introduced to the area may lead to new hazards. In the event of such change, a risk assessment should be repeated immediately and even where no change is apparent, a review of the risk assessment should be conducted every year to ensure that continuous improvement is made. Application of risk assessment form The risk assessment and action plan form (Appendix1) is a template that is used in lower hazard areas such as administration and non-scientific/technical academic areas. For instance, Estates Office can use it to do the organizing events on campus such as open days, exhibitions or doing work in the community; it also can identify common hazards across the science and engineering building, for example movement of chemicals, or students attending lectures being able to enter a lab or workshop. To assist in prioritising areas requiring health and safety improvements then the level of risk may be qualitatively ranked in the risk assessment and action plan form. Please see the part of qualitative ranking of risk for more details.

4 Different higher hazard academic areas (e.g. lab or workshop) can develop variations of the form to suit their management style, organization and risk profile. For instance, the process and risk assessment form (Appendix2) developed is a good example to follow since it combines a safe operating procedure with the assessment. The risk assessment checklist would also be useful for any level of risk assessment. Qualitative ranking of risk Definition It is important to understand the meaning of these two terms to effectively carry out a risk assessment. Hazard is defined as the potential to cause harm. Risk is defined as the likelihood of an event occurring which will allow the hazard to be manifested. This can be done by scoring each of the three factors - hazard, risk and consequences from 1 to 3, 1 being the lowest, and 3 being the highest. The product of this is numbered between 1 and 27 and the higher scoring action points will be seen as having the greater priority. Risk severity = Hazard x Risk x Consequences Hazard may be ranked as follows: 3 - Major (death or severe injury may result) 2 - Serious (injuries requiring medical treatment or more than three days recovery) 1 - Slight (injuries requiring no more than first aid treatment, or brief recovery) Risk may be ranked as follows: 3 - High (event will occur frequently) 2 - Medium (event will occur occasionally) 1 - Low (event will seldom occur) Consequences may be ranked as follows: 3 - Department (endangers individuals within a wide area) 2 - Group (endangers individuals within the immediate vicinity) 1 - Individual (single individual affected)

5 The following table provides interpretation as to the timescale for appropriate action relating to the scores produced from the above simple quantification process. Severity level Trivial ( 1 ) Acceptable ( 2 ) Moderate ( 3-5 ) Substantial ( 6-8 ) Intolerable ( 9+ ) Action and Timescale No action is required to deal with trivial risks, and no documentary records need be kept (insignificant risk). No further preventative action is necessary, but consideration should be given to cost-effective solutions, or improvements that impose minimal or no additional cost burden. Monitoring is required to ensure that the controls are maintained. Efforts should be made to reduce the risk, but the costs of prevention should be carefully measured and limited. Risk reduction measures should normally be implemented within three to six months, depending on the number of people exposed to the hazard. Activity should not be started until the risk has been reduced. Considerable resources may have to be allocated to reduce the risk. Where the risk involves activity in progress, the problem should be remedied as quickly as possible and certainly within one to three months. Activity should not be started or continued until the risk level has been reduced. While the control measures should be cost-effective, the legal duty to reduce the risk is absolute. This means that if it is not possible to reduce the risk, even with unlimited resources, then the activity must not be started or must remain prohibited. This is illustrated in the following matrix, which for simplicity just considers hazard and risk but not consequences since in the majority of situations the event will affect just one person. Risk severity Likelihood Hazard Slight 1 Serious 2 Major 3 Low 1 Trivial 1 Acceptable 2 Moderate 3 Medium 2 Acceptable 2 Moderate 3 Substantial 6 High 3 Moderate 3 Substantial 6 Intolerable 9

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