To ensure a safe and healthy working environment, you must first carry out a risk assessment. The risk assessment forms the basis for health and safety management and is part of your legal obligations. Risk assessment consists of assessing the existing health and safety risks due to the workplace hazards to which you and your employees and family members are exposed. It is a systematic examination of all aspects of the work that takes into account:
• The possible causes of injury or damage,
• The possibility of eliminating the risks and, if not,
• The prevention or protection measures that are or should be in place to keep risks
The risk assessment should be defined in writing.
The execution of the risk assessment includes five basic steps:
PHASE 1: Identification and registration of hazards
STEP 2 Hazard assessments to determine the level of risk
PHASE 3 Identification of prevention and protection measures
PHASE 4 Implementation of the measures
PHASE 5 Monitoring and review
You need to identify all possible dangers associated with your business and the people at risk. You need to make sure you look at every factor and every aspect of your business.
A hazard is what has the potential to cause harm, which can range from damage to property, minor injuries, and health problems to injuries that can lead to disability, illness, or even death.
To avoid neglecting the dangers of focusing on one aspect of your business at the expense of another, you can apply the FAAPO method (i.e., Human Factor, Equipment, Environment, Product, Organization), which will help you develop an overall vision of your business.
• Human factor: physical disability, lack of knowledge or skills, lack of skills, bad attitude, or behavior.
• Equipment: machinery, tools, software and hardware, tables, or chairs.
• Environment: climate, temperature, vibration, air quality
• Product: hazardous substances, heavy loads, and sharp or hot objects.
• organization: layout of the tasks, working hours, workplace, breaks, shifts, training, work systems, communication, teamwork, contact with visitors, social support or autonomy
• Good and bad practices of your employees;
• Safe and dangerous machinery and equipment
• Dangerous places;
• Unstable or soft ground;
• Holes and steep slopes of the land;
• Structural deficiencies or damage;
• Access points for strangers;
• People at risk (collaborators, suppliers, external workers, visitors, your family members);
• Chemicals and the ways in which they are stored and handled;
• Vehicles and their movement.
• You may have to break down complicated tasks into simpler tasks to identify hazards in more detail.
• Discuss possible dangers with the people who work in your company. The people involved in the activities may be the most suitable to recognize the dangers and propose solutions. By "people," we mean your employees, suppliers, and external workers, but also your family members.
• When identifying hazards, not only think about your core activities, but also always keep in mind support activities, such as maintenance, cleaning and preparation work, stock counting, drilling work - all of these activities are performed only once in a while, but for this very reason they can be even more dangerous than others.
• Consider activities outside your farm, such as transporting crops and livestock.
• If your employees and their family members live on the company or if it is the residence of your family, pay particular attention to their safety and health as well as their daily needs.
• If school groups, tourists or shoppers visit your company, remember that these people are even more vulnerable because they don't know the place and are responsible for their safety.
• Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone with health problems are even more at risk and may have special needs.
• Migrant and seasonal workers should not be forgotten.
Think about the problems and events that have occurred in the past and their consequences.
Once you have listed the hazards, you need to evaluate them to determine the level of risk. The risk depends on several factors, such as:
• Probability of the danger occurring;
• Severity of the effects after the hazard has occurred;
• Frequency and duration of exposure to the hazard;
• Population, i.e., the number of people exposed.
It is common practice for practical purposes to consider these factors (evaluation parameters): probability and severity.
Probability is the possibility of damage occurring. It is affected by the safety measures and precautions already in place.
Severity is the extent of the result (injury, disease, loss, damage). It is affected by the nature of the danger. Record the possible consequences of a hazard so you can determine its severity. For example, falls from workplaces at height automatically lead to a high degree of severity because they can cause death.
The urgency of the measures to be taken depends on the level of risk.
Identify the measures to be taken to reduce the risk as much as possible. The prevention measures are related to each hazard. When deciding which measures to take, keep in mind the general principles of prevention:
1) Risk mitigation in the following order:
a) Elimination of the source of danger,
b) Replacement of the source of danger,
c) Reduction of the dangers deriving from the source,
d) Isolation of the source of danger,
e) Protection of personnel by means of individual or other protective devices;
2) Minimization of human error;
3) Health surveillance.
Give people responsible for implementing control measures and set a timetable for their completion.
Implemented the measures decided in the manner established. Regularly check with the persons in charge of the progress made. Make sure that a temporary solution is found for problems that cannot be resolved permanently in the immediate future.
Remember that you cannot eliminate all dangers, but you can keep them under control. The residual risk is the risk that remains after the adoption of appropriate control measures. After implementing the control measures, a hazard must be re-assessed in the light of the new circumstances. Due to the measures taken, the likelihood of the danger occurring now is likely to be lower. The severity will remain the same because the consequences of the dangerous event if it occurs do not change.
When does this process end? It never ends. It must be constantly reviewed and monitored. As people change, structures wear out, equipment and machinery are replaced, vehicles are fitted with new accessories and technology advances, and you will need to keep risk assessments up to date.
Some hazards will disappear automatically if their source is removed (for example, if you replace an old tractor with a modern one). But it can also happen that new dangers arise. The dangers may vary depending on the season. What can be safe in the summer can be dangerous in the winter (e.g., slippery surfaces, pest infestations). You have to keep up with evolving situations. Review and reassess potential hazards and risks after each significant change. Care will always be needed as long as people are doing an activity, no matter how simple or complex.
Oct 16, 2020