SAFed Health and Safety Passport Scheme
Module 3 — Risk Assessments
forms one of a series of modules on various health and safety subjects that
comprise the examinable material considered necessary for the award of the
SAFed Health and Safety Passport.
When you have
studied this module you should have acquired sufficient knowledge to be able
to answer the questions detailed at the end of the module. Upon satisfactory completion of all modules, you will be
eligible to undertake the final assessment for the award of the SAFed Health
and Safety Passport.
Health and Safety Passport is issued to Engineer Surveyors by the Health and
Safety Manager of their employing company upon satisfactory completion of the
Safety Passport final assessment.
The award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport provides evidence that the holder of the Passport has the appropriate knowledge and awareness in health and safety matters considered necessary for an Engineer Surveyor to undertake the duties for which they are authorised by their employing company.
The passport is valid for a maximum of three years.
Having studied this module you should have an
relevant legislation associated with Risk Assessments.
meaning of Risk Assessment.
definition of a hazard and typical hazards encountered in the workplace.
definition and meaning of Risk.
risk assessment process.
and quantitative Risk Assessments.
and control measures.
· Machinery mechanical and non-mechanical hazards
The Health and
Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 places general duties on all employers within
Section 2, which states:
‘It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees.’
risk assessment is not a specific requirement of the Act the need to undertake
such assessments is implied throughout.
number of regulations implemented under the Act do however place specific
duties on employers to undertake risk assessments.
of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states within regulation 3
‘Every employer shall make a
suitable and sufficient assessment of:
(1) Risks to health and safety
of their employees whilst they are at work
(2) Risks to health and safety of persons not in their
employment arising from the undertaking.’
In essence the Management Regulations require all employers to undertake systematic general examinations of their work activities in order to identify the hazards present and the extent of any resultant risks. Employers with 5 or more employees must record the significant findings of any such examination or risk assessment.
Whilst the Management Regulations may be considered the principal regulations in relation to the undertaking of risk assessments, other regulations, which are listed below, impose the duty in more specific areas as:
· The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002;
· The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992,
· The Health and Safety (Manual Handling Operations) Regulations 1992,
· The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992,
· The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997,
· The Noise at Work Regulations 1989,
· The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002,
· The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002.
It is imperative that an Engineer Surveyor carries out or has a risk assessment on the equipment he is about to examine and the environment local to that piece of equipment.
Risk Assessment – What is it?
Hazard and Risk
Before attempting to undertake risk assessments we must appreciate the differences between a hazard and a risk:
hazard is defined as anything with the potential to cause harm.
The HSE additionally interpret a workplace hazard as anything
presenting the possibility of danger. An
article, substance, person or situation may present hazards, which tend to
fall into four basic categories:
Noise, vibration, lighting, mechanical, radiation, heat etc.
Posture, work position, duration, repetitive work.
Bacteria, viruses etc.
Dust, fume, gases, liquids, vapours.
work related hazards are presented by electricity, tools, untrained personnel,
solvents, machinery, noise, vibration, cables strewn across a workshop floor,
poor housekeeping, repetitive working practices, working at height, manual
single operation may present more than one hazard or type of hazard.
A production line assembly process could present hazards due to the repetitive nature of the task, poor lighting, poor posture, the use of powered hand tools, manual handling of components, noise from associated or surrounding machinery or activities, the use of chemicals and other workers.
Picture 1. Practical Hazard:
Stanley knife is a common tool used throughout industry and domestically. The
knife consists of self-contained handle and retractable blade.
The retractable blade can be razor sharp when new and presents the
principal hazard. The blade has
the potential to cause injury!
Examination Hazards encountered by Engineer Surveyors
work at height,
entanglement with exposed
impact by moving lift
exposure to biological
exposure to hazardous
work under raised plant,
· work in unfamiliar surroundings
is defined as the likelihood that the hazard will be realised, coupled with
the severity of the harm that may result
= Probability of Occurrence
x Severity of Injury
In a recent publication the HSE stated that anything present in an
undertaking, which gives rise to the possibility of danger, should be properly
Persons exposed to risks can include:
Those directly involved in
Persons working in the
vicinity or passing by.
contractors, visitors and members of the public.
Risk may be estimated at three stages:
The level of risk with no controls in place;
The level of risk having regard for any existing
The level of risk when further action or additional
controls have been implemented.
As an Engineer Surveyor when undertaking your initial risk assessments you will be concentrating on residual risk. The “as is” position, which takes into account any existing controls or mitigating factors.
|3.5.3 The Risk Assessment Process|
|Survey and Assessmen
Initially if all operations are not covered by suitable
risk assessments, or existing assessments are considered outdated or
inadequate, a survey will need to be undertaken of all the generic, and any
specialist, examinations. This
survey will look for anything that could reasonably be expected to cause harm.
This survey process could lead to the preparation of an inventory of
hazard sources and may be broken down to cover individual types of
examinations, traction lift, hydraulic lift, power press etc.
The formulation of a record or inventory of the source of any hazards presented should be the first stage in the process of managing those hazards.
The component parts of such an inventory may be broken
down as follows:
An identification of all generic examinations,
An identification of any specialist examinations,
A list of potential hazard sources which may be presented
across a range of examinations/sites,
A list of any one, other than Surveyors, who may be
affected by the hazards generated during examination.
The inventory may then form the basis for the undertaking of generic risk assessments for examination activities.
The practical process of undertaking any risk assessment
should follow a series of logical steps as follows:
Clearly define the equipment, process or activity to be
Identify the hazards involved.
Identify who may be exposed and the consequences of
Identify any existing control measures or mitigating
Make an initial evaluation of the risks arising from
Where the risks are not considered tolerable develop an
action plan of controls designed to reduce the residual risk to its lowest
Record your findings.
Implement controls and re-evaluate the risks.
Monitor and review.
In order to meet the requirements, (necessary under
regulations), for a “suitable and sufficient” risk assessment the above
process should be formally recorded ensuring that:
All the foreseeable significant risks arising out of the
work activity are identified.
Employers or the self-employed are able to identify and
prioritize the measures needed to comply with relevant statutory provisions.
The assessment is appropriate to nature of the work.
There is no standard or approved format for the recording of risk assessments. The use and adoption of an appropriate format is the responsibility of individual employers. However, the format and complexity of any assessment should reflect the activity being assessed and should be easily understood by those affected or involved.
A typical risk assessment format for Engineer Surveyors
A generic assessment for
different types of plant and systems made available to all relevant engineer
A residual assessment on
site by surveyors, in conjunction with the generic assessment, to take into
account site-specific hazards.
The generic and residual assessment formats in
combination should meet the legal requirements of being suitable and
sufficient by providing the following information.
A clear identification of the subject of the assessment.
An indication of exposure details.
The significant hazards present.
Any existing controls.
An evaluation of the risks.
· An action plan
The two basic formats for the undertaking of risk
Qualitative Risk Assessment
This is the most simplistic of the methods used to assess
risk. It is very subjective and
based on personal judgement and possibly generalized data.
Such an assessment will allocate a general categorization to a risk
such as low, medium or high.
Qualitative Outcome Matrix
|Quantitive Risk Assessment|
A quantitative assessment of risk is more objective and
scientific and may be based on known factors relating to a risk or activity.
These could include industrial accident statistics as applied to
specific industry sectors or those relating to the risk of death from specific
For example if attempting to quantitatively assess the
risks involved in scuba diving it may be prudent to consider the associated
statistics which indicate that the annual risk of death is 1 in every 200 000
dives. Quantitative assessments
are useful when allocating priorities to control measures.
In a general industrial context it is usually more
practical to use selected criteria placed against probabilities and
severity’s to produce an overall risk score
|A quantitative risk score is calculated as the product of the probability of occurrence and the severity of the likely injury.|
= Probability x Severity.
|A purely qualitative risk assessment may be too subjective or simplistic for many work situations whist a purely quantitative assessment may be too restrictive. A more practical solution may be presented by the use of a format, which utilises both methodologies. The quantitative data obtained using laid down criteria may be used to obtain a risk score which is then transposed into an outcome matrix in order to obtain an overall qualitative ranking of the risk.|
|Severity of Injury|
|Probability of Occurrence|
This combined methodology presents the optimum means of
achieving consistency across individual assessors or groups of assessors in a
variety formats which, whilst not over complicated, should better enable the
aims of the assessment to be realised.
Two basic formats using the combined methodology can be utilised; one format aimed at the production of generic assessments and a second format for the undertaking of site specific assessments.
|3.5.5 Controls and Control Measures|
In relation to all hazards a hierarchy of controls
should be followed in order to remove or reduce those hazards.
One of the standard hierarchies relating to general risk
assessments is as follows:
- remove the hazard at source – stop the activity or change a hazardous
chemical for a non-hazardous alternative;
- reduce the risk at source -
replace a hazardous piece of equipment or tool with a less hazardous
- isolate the source of the risk, segregate a high-risk machine from
– guarding, safety devices, sound proof noisy machines,
- Goggles, gloves etc.
Discipline – Supervision, information, instruction and training, Safe Systems of Work.
In attempting to evaluate the risks presented by any
identified hazards we must consider any existing controls in place.
Such controls could be in the form of existing physical safeguards such
as guarding, interlocks and other safety devices or management measures such
as supervision, authorised usage or training.
Highlighting the presence of risk through signage and indicating
appropriate protective measures could be considered as low-level control.
More crucially any attempt to reduce the level of risk will undoubtedly require the implementation of additional or improved controls. This could include improving the level of current safeguards through addition, improvement, replacement or modification. Management systems may need to be reviewed to ensure the optimum levels of supervision, authorisation and training are being implemented.
Any format or combination of formats utilised to
undertake a risk assessment should incorporate an action plan.
When the findings of an assessment indicate that additional controls or
actions are required to reduce risks to a more tolerable level these should be
indicated within the action plan. The
plan should allocate a target date and responsibility for the completion of
actions. Any recommended actions
should be signed and dated by the responsible person on completion.
The greater the risk the higher the priority assigned to
the implementation of suitable controls.
The introduction of additional or new controls should lead to a reassessment of the risk.
|Monitor and Review|
A risk assessment should be routinely monitored and
reviewed to ensure it remains relevant and that any controls previously
implemented remain effective.
Whilst there is no statutory review period a suitable
date for periodic review should be indicated within the assessment document.
Otherwise a risk assessment should be reviewed:
if there is a reason to suspect it is no longer valid
if there have been significant changes
if following exceptional circumstances for example an
Once an Engineer Surveyor has completed a site assessment
on his first visit to an installation the review at subsequent visits will
hopefully comprise of no more than a visual check for changes or new hazards.
If there have been significant changes to the installation, (lift, crane, boiler, etc.), the assessment will need to be re-conducted in full.
|3.5.6 Risk Assessors|
|Who Should Carry Out Risk Assessments?|
Only a competent person who has been trained to undertake
assessments and has sufficient knowledge and experience of the operation or
activity to be assessed should carry out Risk Assessments.
It is equally important that those people directly
involved in such operations or activities, (operators, maintenance personnel
etc.), are involved in the process.
Your Information Sources
Simple observance of an activity alone, whilst the
simplest form of hazard identification, is unlikely to be fully effective and
should be supplemented by interviews and reference to relevant documentation.
Utilise all the information sources available including
statutory provisions, accident records, manufacturer’s data, industry
guidance and of course other employees.
Do not attempt to undertake Risk Assessments on
operations or activities, which are beyond your competency due to the
complexity of the operation, the level and nature of risk involved or the need
for specialist techniques.
For example you should be competent to identify noise as a potential hazard associated with a particular operation but you will not be competent to undertake a noise assessment as required by the Noise at Work Regulations.
|3.5.7 Plant and Machinery Based Risk Assessments|
The undertaking of statutory thorough examinations are
ostensibly plant and machinery based. Machine based hazards present the
majority of the more serious hazards presented to Engineer Surveyors.
As such surveyors need to be aware of the specific hazards relating to
The hazards associated with the use of machinery are many and varied. The following information summarises the main hazards both mechanical and non-mechanical. For a full list of hazards, hazardous situations and events reference should be made to BS EN 1050: 1997
- hearing loss- tinnitus, tiredness, stress and interference with speech and
- burns, scalds- health damaging effects generated by hot or cold work
- lasers, radio frequencies, infrared, ultra-violet, x-rays, microwaves, etc.
MATERIALS / SUBSTANCES - contact with, or inhalation of: fluids vapours, mists, fumes and dusts - fire or explosive hazards, biological hazards.
- poor lighting-eye strain.
- slips, trips & falls.
& CONTROL SYSTEMS - labelling, unsafe by position, inadvertent start-up,
- Hazards generated by neglecting ergonomic principles in machine design.
For example, layout or mismatch of machinery with human characteristics
and abilities may show itself by:
EFFECTS - posture, excessive or repetitive action/effort etc.
· PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS - stress
3.6 End of module and next steps
By reaching this point you will have finished studying this particular
module. You should now have
sufficient knowledge to answer the questions contained at the end of the module.
the questions should be forwarded to your Health and Safety Manager.
Provided that you have answered the questions correctly, your Health and Safety Manager will forward to you your next self study module.