Requirements for a Risk Assessment (Part 2)


Step 3 – Converting hazards to risks

Now that the hazards have been identified we can move on to convert those hazards to risks. Remember that it vital that the risks are assessed and not the hazards! The important part is to work systematically; this will ensure that you have an end result containing the steps of the process (the activity), the hazards and the resulting risk.

A structured way of doing the conversion process can be done to determine which hazards can get out of control. Always think of the “what if?” It can be done as follows:

  • Non-conformance or management failure
  • Training and skills deficiency
  • Design defects
  • Inadequate or inappropriate maintenance
  • Substandard physical conditions
  • Illegal acts
  • Containment failure

Always consider the human factor and take the normal, abnormal and emergency activities in consideration.

Step 4 – Ranking risks

Now it’s time for the risks to be analysed and then to be ranked. The purpose of analysing the risks is to objectively establish the priority of the actions that will be taken to eliminate or reduce the risk to a tolerable state.

The evaluation process of the risk assessment is a very important part because it will determine the rest of the processes within the risk assessment. If you do it half-heartedly the rest of the risk assessment could become totally invalid or ineffective.

Remember that this is an example only and does not contain the risk rating matrix and extensive details of ranking a risk, it’s for illustrative purposes only. An example of a method of rating a risk can be done as follows:

  • Severity for safety
    • Catastrophic
    • Critical
    • Serious
    • Marginal
    • Negligible
  • Frequency for safety
    • Frequent
    • Regular
    • Occasional
    • Uncommon
    • Rare
  • Exposure for safety
    • Extensive
    • Widespread
    • Significant
    • Restricted
    • Negligible
  • Severity for Occupational health
    • Catastrophic
    • Critical
    • Serious
    • Marginal
    • Negligible
  • Frequency for Occupational health
    • Frequent
    • Regular
    • Occasional
    • Uncommon
    • Rare
  • Exposure for Occupational health
    • Extensive
    • Widespread
    • Significant
    • Restricted
    • Negligible
  • Severity for environment
    • Catastrophic
    • Critical
    • Serious
    • Marginal
    • Negligible
  • Potential ecological and social impact
    • Catastrophic
    • Critical
    • Serious
    • Marginal
    • Negligible
  • Frequency for environment
    • Frequent
    • Regular
    • Occasional
    • Uncommon
    • Rare
  • Exposure for environment
    • Extensive
    • Widespread
    • Significant
    • Local
    • Restricted
    • Negligible

Step 6 – Evaluating effectiveness of existing controls

The best way of evaluating the extensiveness of existing controls is to determine if the risk rating has come down or have moved up. Current stats of incidents can also be examined to see if there has been a decline from the time of before the control measures have been put in place. Only time will tell if your control measures have been as effective as you intended it to be.

Make sure to read our next blog on Control measures for a Risk Assessment. Please contact us at info@safetyfile.co.za for all of your risk assessment and Health and Safety requirements. We are there to help.