Risk controls are an important part of the risk assessment process. Risk control techniques are meant to minimise the significant risks to which individuals and organisations are exposed to. By assessing the effectiveness of the controls we can have a measured indication of the level of risk exposure and they can help to identify additional requirements for the control of risks.
The first step will be to identify existing controls that are already in place. A very common and practical way to categorize controls is as follows. Please note that this is an example list only and not an extensive list:
- This is to totally eliminate (remove) a risk
- Engineering Controls
- Replacing broken or missing safety guards
- Installing safety barriers
- Redesign equipment that are used for the activity
- Administrative Controls
- Implementing permits to work
- Registers (For control measures)
- Preventive maintenance schedules
- PPE Controls
- PPE and Clothing
- Selecting correct types of PPE
- PPE surveys
A cost-benefit analysis should be performed hand in hand with the above methods of risk control. A cost-benefit is a quantification of the financial benefit the business is getting in the effort it is expending. Some examples of a logical process can be as follows:
- What will it cost the organisation for each of the extra control measures that are proposed. Make sure that all costs are calculated and that all cost items are considered.
- Determine the benefits would be to the business. Not all benefits will be monitory, some might be time saved, benefit to employees, benefit to the community, etc.
Don’t forget the non-quantifiable factors. Financial costs and benefits should not be the only factors to look at. Such non-quantifiable factors can for instance be legal compliance. Imagine the cost implications should your organisation be panelised by a client or fined by the Department of Labour. These fines and penalties will outweigh any benefit that our business might have had by not implementing the risk controls.
Despite any advantages or disadvantages that might have been identified it is critical to identify critical controls. This implies that that the controls that are identified to most likely reduce the risk to a tolerable level should be identified and communicated individually.
Remember that the risk assessments and the control measures are only the first two steps in a safety management system. Risk assessments should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that your business has the safest possible working conditions for your employees and the surrounding community.
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