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    July 28, 2016

    Risk Assessments: What Are They Good For? Absolutely Everything!

    Many dictionaries define safety as “the state of being safe.” This makes it sound like safety is just a concept that cannot be influenced or controlled. It also makes one think that safety is static – as if you don’t have to do anything in order to be safe.

    Professionals who perform dangerous and challenging operations on a daily basis know better. Being safe is a continuous process of learning and improving. What might work one day, may cause trouble the next. Carefully planning events and participating in safety meetings such as Toolbox Talks can help identify and mitigate potential workplace risk. 

    More and more companies recognize that improving safety also helps their business. Some even set higher safety standards than what local laws prescribe. They share lessons learned with their contractors and sometimes even with their competitors.

    To bring safety to a higher level, many options are available. There are plenty of existing resources and guidelines such as the new ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems that comes out later this year, DuPont™ STOP®, the DROPS' program posters and presentations, and Hazard Hunt templates. All in all, there is a significant number of resources available. Implementing all of them will surely keep you occupied, but might not necessarily be the best use of your time. You want to know which tools provide the most benefit for your organization. 

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    So where does one start?

    The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has freely released a series of sectoral risk assessment tools called the Online Interactive Risk Assessment (OiRA). This helps small and midsize businesses (SMB) prepare an action plan to help streamline their health and safety initiatives. It originates from the Dutch Risk Identification and Evaluation (RI&E) programme. There are tools available for a broad range of sectors -- from hairdressing and woodworking to education, energy and transportation. Each tool starts by identifying and evaluating risks that are common to that sector, after which it assists you to build an individual plan. As an end result, you will get a personalized spreadsheet with your action plan items. 

    A proper risk action plan encourages all people involved to become an owner of a safety project. Companies that use this simple risk assessment tool typically see an improvement in their safety record. When companies take the extra step to implement more thorough risk management processes within their organizations, they begin to notice a stronger safety culture

    Next steps

    After setting up a first Risk Action Plan using the described tools, you will find the need to make your processes easier. The spreadsheet works fine for the first few weeks, but cannot easily be shared among peers. If not careful, multiple copies will live side by side and employee involvement will drop. As any spreadsheet, it lacks some reporting options, but it's a great tool to monitor the department’s overall safety performance. 

    Start looking into solutions that automate incident management and risk assessment tasks. As a SMB, consider an EHS software where you only pay a small portion of what a full software solution would cost – while still getting access to all features you need.

    EHS Insight can help you manage your risk action plan. As you go and identify new risks and actions, it assists you by keeping track of outstanding corrective and preventative actions (CAPAs). It automates due date notification and escalation to make sure everyone stays involved. Schedule regular audits and inspections and easily adjust your risk action plan to ensure it fits and adapts to your company’s specific requirements.

    Request a free trial of EHS Insight's Risk Assessment Software today.