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Safety and risk assessment in workplace

by adminV
Risk assessment


Samson Ajobiewe

Safety is one of the most important factors of the continuation of business activities… the question to ask now is “how does one know if a typical workplace is safe?”  The only way to know about the unsafe conditions in a workplace is through hazard identification and risks assessment. Risk is the possibility that injury or damage will occur during an operation in a workplace, and a workplace is a premise where a person performs work in the course of his employment

Risk assessment is the process of identifying potential hazards and the analysis of what could happen if the hazard occurs, risk assessment may be inconclusive and incomplete if the method statement for the operation is not well spelt, the method statement sometimes referred to a safe system of work is a document that entails the way a work, task, or operation is to be completed, this will break down the process, tools, personnel, hazards , likelihood of hazards occurrence, then this will give generic template to generate a workable risk assessment

The relevance of risk assessment are numerous – risk assessment is an ubiquitous tool used in all fields, operations, task and what have you, from highly hazardous task of even less domestically hazardous tasks like cooking and even eating, most times we unconsciously run and generate dynamic risk assessment in all these above, if not, we will end up hitting hazards or stepping close to accident if not into accidents every day.

ICYMI: Need for safety officers in workplace

Risk assessment has helped business, construction process, production process and even in infrastructural developments, because any step taking outside the business plans/ feasibility studies, method statement of a task, project plans of a development, etc will chiefly result to a grave answer which safety frowns against,

For the continuity of a business, there is the need for a business impact analysis BIA which is a virtual business risk assessment. This will aid in detecting the potential impacts resulting from the interruption of time-sensitive critical business. Besides the tasks or business operations, there is also need for the assessment to cover the safety of personnel, the safety of the work process and environment, the safety of neighbours and host communities.

For example, the law dealing with employers employing pregnant women, special needs personnel and even underage is very stringent, hence adequate risk assessment and reassessment is encouraged to achieve an accident-free operation.

No matter how dynamic the risk assessment will be, it should also be specific, so it can cover all the stages, the persons and control measures for all itemized hazards. For example, a pregnant woman working on a spilt floor, noisy environments, or in a plant with hazardous effluents, or a factory operating in a neighbourhood with the tendency to pollute the environment and host community will not only carry out an EIA and BIA, but must also carry out risk assessment of tasks to be done so the operations won’t jeopardize the health and environmental quality of the host economy. But most time business owners prefer to engage more on Business Impact Analysis than the other two because of the returns to detriments of health, environment and safety.

For public or private projects of public use and developments, an EIA environmental impact assessment is required, EIA is the process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed development or projects which will take into consideration and scopes of the economic, socio-cultural and human health at both beneficial and adverse interrelations , like Risk assessment and BIA, EIA is like a tool  used in predicting environmental impacts both negative and positive prior to the start of the proposed development, as this will reduce adverse impacts and also define the project or development to suit the environment to the degree of not jeopardizing sustainable development.

Risk assessment, EIA, and BIA are both interwoven, and not islands in respects of functionalities. But it’s unfortunate and dangerous as most tasks, operations, businesses and developments are carried out without considerations for some or all of  the above, that’s why we start have fueling stations amidst residences, companies polluting environmental quality and health of host communities, we still have network masks as neighboring infrastructures , we still have construction sites with workers working like the pre-colonial slaves, all these activities are jeopardizing our sustainable developments, seriously affecting our ecosystems and bio diversities and sending people to their early graves.

It cost you less to employ a risk assessor and adviser, pay for safety rather than paying for claims, fines and loosing reputations.

It cost you less to create a safe working environment, safe tools and safe supervision than fighting litigations, endangering lives and properties, sending our bio diversities to abyss.

Don’t forget Risk assessment is a legal requirement, it’s your moral obligation as an employer and it will help you stay in business longer.

The moral duty of care has it that as long as you don’t want your work process to cause your life, your health and your reputations, it shouldn’t cause others theirs also. The life you save today may save yours tomorrow.



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