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Health and Safety: Risk Assessments

Ideally, the risk assessment (RA) process should begin at the work activity planning stage and continue independently throughout the work activity. They should be complemented by regular reviews to ensure that risk assessments are ongoing, specific and complete.

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A preliminary assessment should be made to determine whether each hazard presents a risk of injury or significant harm to the company. The risk arising from each hazard should then be measured using a risk matrix, taking into account current company procedures and existing work permits / controls.

Once all initially significant hazards have been identified, inspectors should seek to minimize risks by listing specific precautions and ensuring that staff and other affected persons fully comply with controls. Precautions should take care of each hazard in turn.

Before moving on to the next identified hazard, supervisors should ensure that the risk of injury is as low as possible.

After precautionary measures have been taken, the hazards should be reviewed to ensure that the residual risk of each hazard has reached a low risk rating. Hazards whose risk assessment is higher than "low" after the introduction of precautionary measures should not be continued.

Work should be reviewed for alternative methods of closure or additional precautions so that work can be carried out without risk of injury or damage. The determination of the residual risk should be carried out in the same manner as for the initial assessment, as each hazard is accounted for in turn and the risk of injury / damage is calculated.