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Risk assessments have been an important part of occupational health and safety for the past 40 years. Risk Assessments have assisted many organisations to enhance their workplace health and safety and reduce the number and severity of injuries experienced by workers.

What is a Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment involves considering what could happen if someone is exposed to a hazard. A risk assessment is an important tool which helps to:

  • determine how severe a risk is
  • identify which workers are at risk of exposure
  • determine what sources and processes are causing the risk
  • identify if and what kind of control measures should be implemented
  • check the effectiveness of existing control measures.
  • how urgent action is required.

How is a Risk Assessment Performed?

A WHS risk assessment identifies all hazards and risks and how to effectively control them. For those risks that are well-known and already have control measures in place, you may skip the assessment step. Each step involves consultation with workers who are affected by the risks and hazards within the workplace.

Identifying all the hazards of a large organisation can seem daunting but there are several ways to uncover the hazards. To find the hazards:

Walkthrough the Premises

Walk around the workplace and observe how people work, how equipment is used, the safe and unsafe practices and tidiness of the workplace.

Speak to Staff & Contractors

However, it’s not enough to simply walk through the premises, or even to just talk to one group of workers. You need to speak to workers at all levels of the organisation doing different tasks. Ask workers if they have any concerns about health and safety. Find out if there have been any incidents or near misses that weren’t recorded. Ask about the culture of the organisation and if they consider there to be bullying in the workplace.

Review the Records

Review the safety records of the business for more information about previous incidents. Look at safety data sheets of product specifications of everything used in the organisation.

Utilise a Risk Matrix

A risk assessment matrix is an important part of the risk management decision-making process. The matrix provides a visual representation of the risk analysis, presenting a correlation between probability of occurrence, and category of severity. In providing a visual representation, colour coding is often used to group and low, medium and high risks with easy reference to support easy decision making.

The matrix assists with the first and second stage of the four-step risk management process.

  1. Identify hazards
  2. Assess risks
  3. Control risks
  4. Review control measures

A risk assessment matrix can include other business areas that are not directly related to health and safety. For example, a large project may have a matrix that includes risks involved with the organisation’s assets, the community or the environment.

When to complete a Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment should be conducted when a change is being planned or implemented in the workplace. A new product, process or site may be in the planning stages. By conducting the assessment in the early stages of a change, it may be possible to plan so that hazards and risks are eliminated before they occur.

A risk assessment should be reviewed whenever there is a change to work activities such as:

  • Purchase of new equipment.
  • A change that improves productivity or reduces costs.
  • Practices or procedures have changed.

A new assessment or review may be required as a result of a development including:

  • An injury, incident or near miss occurring in the workplace or the industry.
  • Staff member raising a health and safety concern.
  • Changes to the WHS regulations.

Altius’ Workplace Risk Assessments

An accurate risk assessment requires a thorough workplace assessment to be conducted. Altius has experience in undertaking assessments for organisations across most industries. It can take years for someone to spot a workplace safety risk, therefore making it difficult for inexperienced staff to conduct a thorough review.

Our assessments include:

  • Review of industry risks and trends which may be applicable to your worksite
  • Review of your injury and incident register to identify pain points and prior issues
  • A full site inspection to identify and assess risks within the workplace environment and within its operations, including but not limited to:
    • Manual tasks
    • Use of plant, machinery and equipment
    • Traffic Management risks
    • Hazardous Substance management
    • Emergency Management
    • High risk work activities such as asbestos, electrical or gas works

  • Identify and assess psychosocial risks such as work related stress, bullying and work related fatigue.

Our assessments can be scaled to suit your organisations needs from focusing on a particular work activity, piece of equipment, or site, to a full scale review of the entire organisation and its operations.
For more information or assistance with a Workplace Risk Assessment contact Altius Group on 1800 258 487 or contact us online.