How to apply a correct risk assessment template

Implementing these security tools with a clear, precise and concrete methodology constitutes a vital support to consolidate the competitiveness and commercial success of any company or organization.

Human Capital is a fundamental pillar for the success of any company or organization. Consequently, recognizing and preventing occupational risks that affect its performance is a key factor in any strategy that aims to consolidate competitiveness and market positioning.

However, this premise goes much further than simply meeting the requirements established by the authorities or auditors. Risk assessment and prevention should be approached as a comprehensive asset management tool, aimed at proactively identifying hazards and contingencies that threaten the health and well-being of personnel in their workplace.

THE VALUE OF A GOOD RISK ASSESSMENT TEMPLATE

The key to a good preventive and proactive safety strategy lies in what we know as a “risk assessment template”, a tool used to identify and control the occurrence of negative events at work. Its value lies in the fact that it allows to systematically examine the workspace, in order to identify hazards. It also helps to assess the severity and probability of injuries, as well as implement control measures that reduce these risks.

In order to achieve this objective we need to use a matrix that evaluates the consequence, probability and general risk classification of any action or activity that constitutes a danger to the workforce’s safety.

ESSENTIAL PREREQUISITES

Properly implementing this tool requires specialized security personnel, who have the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out the respective risk assessment process. This task can be achieve according to a regular schedule established for the entire company, or randomly during certain periods.

To carry out this task, companies can use internal collaborators, previously trained, or external risk consultants. However, regardless of the option chosen, the employer has the duty and responsibility to ensure that this work would be carried out thoroughly and permanently. This implies having the right personnel, as well as considering all the possible risk variables that may arise, both from the execution of daily tasks, and from the characteristics of the workplace, infrastructure and equipment of the company.

This condition is essential and unavoidable before authorizing the start-up (or resumption, if applicable), of any work and / or productive activity.

REASONS AND FOUNDATIONS

As we have already seen, internal or outsourced professionals can execute an operational risk assessment.

Many organizations choose the second option, as it saves time and internal resources. However, handing over this responsibility to internal staff helps to reinforce the company’s safety culture in the following ways:

1. The team becomes proactive instead of reactive

If workers have the responsibility of ensuring their own safety in the workplace, they are motivated to be more vigilant and careful. This proactive approach translates into long-term benefits, as most injuries caused by work accidents are significantly reduced, thanks to better prevention.

2. Internal responsibility and accountability are reinforced

Encouraging workers to ensure their own safety and that of the other team members will reinforce the habit and culture of responsibility and accountability, through the application of internal evaluations of operational risks. In this way, we could spread a “safety culture” in all internal operating areas, which will be reflected in better productivity rates and general transparency.

3. Transparency and collaboration regarding operational risks are promoted

The need to identify, evaluate and control operational risks allows teams to be more open, honest and transparent with their activities and processes. At the same time, if this spirit of collaboration helps build an accurate picture of daily operations, more effective and realistic risk control measures will be implemented.

STEP-BY-STEP WRITING

Writing a good risk assessment report represents an overwhelming burden, since the life and physical integrity of all personnel can depend on its correct application.

To reduce this pressure, it is necessary to use an appropriate methodology, which facilitates the writing and reading of the respective risk assessment reports.

Therefore, before making any evaluation, we must consider the format that the worksheet will have. This will not only allow us to systematize our work, but will also serve as a framework to facilitate future evaluations.

STEP I: PREPARE A PROPER INTRODUCTION

At this point, it is important to remember that there is no single risk assessment format that will fit any business or organization. In fact, the templates can vary widely, depending on several internal and external factors, such as the nature and size of the operations, their geographical location, the environmental impact and the specifications or requirements established by the respective supervisory entities, among others.

For this reason, it is also essential that any risk assessment worksheet always consider the following information:

– Who is at risk?

We must specified the demographic-labor group that is at risk from an identified hazard. For example, are they the plant operators? Or the assembly line managers? Or the engineers? This step provides a good starting point for developing an effective risk prevention and reduction strategy.

– Count of current control measures

We must identify and include everything that the organization has done, or is currently doing, to reduce the risk of injury in the previously identified demographic-workforce group.

– Determine the necessary improvements or changes in the control measures

Once the current control measures have been identified, it must be determined how they can be improved or replaced by more effective ones. This will further reduce the risk of accidents and injuries in the identified groups.

– Establish assignments and deadlines

Once it has been decided how to improve or optimize existing control measures, it necessary include the names of those who will be responsible, within the staff, for implementing these actions; as well as clearly establish the maximum deadlines for these tasks. These simple steps help to improve employee accountability and diligence.

STEP II: RELEVANT DESIGN

Once the content of the report has been clearly determined, we must apply a conventional design, in order to offer a complete and easy way to read it, and interpret it.

First, create a home page or title page that includes all the preliminary details of the report, as listed below:

A. Who prepared it?

We must identify the name of the risk assessor, or of the company-team that worked on the writing of the report. This helps to establish and delimit the respective responsibilities.

B. Who is it for?

This ensures that the report reviewer is indeed reading the correct file. It also helps to assess the validity of your content.

C. Done on

The date the risk assessment and report were completed should be included. It must also be indicated if both actions were carried out on simultaneous or separate dates.

D. Review date

At this point, we need a specific date, in order to verify whether the risk assessment protocols were actually complied. These terms may vary, according to the needs of each company (there are quarterly, semi-annual or annual options).

Generally, it is suggested to carry out a review of the risk assessment each time significant changes are made in operations, such as, for example, the introduction of new processes, the hiring of a large number of new collaborators in critical areas, or the acquisition of machinery and equipment.

STEP III: TAKE CARE OF THE MAIN BODY

Once we define the main lines of work of the report and their respective format, it is necessary to focus on the central content. To do this, it is necessary to identify, firstly, the two types of risks that can threaten company personnel: physical and substance.

In the first group are slips, trips, falls, risk of being trapped between machinery, and injuries resulting from falling objects, infrastructure breakdown or material fatigue, among other possibilities.

In turn, injuries or illnesses caused by the presence or leakage of toxic, flammable and caustic materials correspond to the group of risks due to substances.

To write the central body of the report, you can choose to list these risks separately, or in the order in which they were identified during the inspection.

FINAL ADVICE: INCLUDE UPDATED RECORDS

Finally, any good report requires the incorporation of an adequate security record that identifies the events that have arisen over time. This will help the company or organization to effectively monitor the dangers and risks, as well as to apply the respective control measures and corrective actions needed.

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