Pass the IOSH Risk Assessment first time!
IOSH Managing Safely Risk Assessment extensive guide. Tailored for newcomers and seasoned professionals in workplace safety management, this guide demystifies the assessment process, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your IOSH Managing Safely certification.
What is a Risk Assessment in the IOSH Managing Safely course?
A risk assessment in the IOSH Managing Safely context is a structured approach to identify, evaluate, and address potential hazards in the workplace. It is more than just regulatory compliance, it focuses on cultivating a proactive safety culture.
The Importance of Risk Assessments
Mandated by the HSE, risk assessments are essential not just for legal compliance but for proactively managing and mitigating workplace hazards. They are particularly crucial for organisations with five or more employees, emphasising the need for a documented approach to safety management.
When to Conduct a Risk Assessment
You should conduct risk assessments regularly and as part of your organisation’s risk management process. This includes annual reviews, following significant workplace changes, introduction of new equipment, or in response to near-misses and incidents.
Completing the IOSH Risk Assessment Form
When carrying out your risk assessment for the IOSH Managing Safely course, the choice of workplace is flexible, as long as it allows you to identify a variety of hazards.
The IOSH Managing Safely Syllabus outlines that your assessment should cover at least four different types of hazards, categorised as follows:
Mechanical Hazards: These might include moving parts of machinery, equipment malfunctions, or other mechanical issues.
Physical Hazards: These could be things like noise, vibration, lighting conditions, or temperature extremes.
Chemical Hazards: This includes exposure to harmful chemicals, which could be in the form of solids, liquids, or gases.
Environmental Hazards: These are hazards related to the surrounding environment, such as slippery floors, uneven surfaces, or poor air quality.
Biological Hazards: These involve risks from bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms that can cause health problems.
Organisational Hazards: These are related to workplace culture or organisational structure, such as high workload, lack of training, or poor communication.
The key is to select a workplace where you can effectively identify and assess hazards across these varied categories. This could be your regular workplace or any other suitable environment that offers the opportunity to observe and evaluate these types of hazards.
Remember, the objective of this risk assessment is not just to fulfil a course requirement but to develop practical skills in identifying and managing workplace risks effectively. Your chosen environment should therefore provide a realistic setting for applying these skills.
Understanding the IOSH Managing Safely Risk Assessment Process
Personal Details and Assessment Information
Your first task on the form is to detail personal and assessment information. This includes your role as the assessor (not the examiner), along with the date, time, and specific details about the work area and task under assessment. This could range from operational tasks in a factory to routine office activities.
Carefully identify potential hazards in your chosen setting. Remember, a hazard is a condition or activity that can lead to adverse outcomes, not the injury or event itself.
Who Might Be Harmed?
Consider all potential people who might be harmed by the identified hazards. This includes employees, contractors, visitors, and the public, ensuring a comprehensive view of workplace safety.
How Might People Be Harmed?
Enumerate the possible injuries or harm that could result from each hazard. This section requires a balance of thoroughness and conciseness, covering all plausible outcomes.
Existing Risk Control Measures
Examine and document the existing control measures. Assess their effectiveness and identify any gaps in current safety protocols.
In the IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment, the terminology used in the risk rating matrix is critical for understanding and implementing the necessary actions based on the level of risk identified. Here’s an explanation of the terminology based on the document you provided:
Use the 5×5 risk matrix to evaluate each hazard, considering both the likelihood of occurrence and the potential severity of the outcome.
Risk Rating Matrix Terms
Very Unlikely: The chance of the hazardous event occurring is minimal, typically expected to occur less than once a year.
Unlikely: There is a small chance that the hazardous event might occur within a year.
Fairly Likely: The hazardous event could occur several times a year.
Likely: There is a high probability that the hazardous event will occur, possibly weekly.
Very Likely: The hazardous event is expected to occur frequently, such as daily.
Insignificant: No injuries are anticipated.
Minor: Injuries requiring only first aid might occur.
Moderate: Possible injuries could result in up to three days’ absence from work.
Major: Serious injuries may occur, leading to more than seven days of absence.
Catastrophic: Worst-case scenario, potentially resulting in death.
Action Level Table Terms
Risk Rating Actions:
20–25: Immediate action is required. The activity should be stopped, and immediate measures should be taken to address the hazard.
15–16: Urgent action is necessary. If needed, halt the activity, and ensure that all existing controls are applied stringently.
8–12: Timely action is needed to improve or implement control measures within a set timeframe.
3–6: Ongoing monitoring is advised. Look for improvements that can be made during the next review or if there is a significant change in the operation or process.
1–2: Generally, no further action is required other than ensuring that all current controls are effectively maintained and periodically reviewed.
The matrix serves as a guide for determining the urgency and type of response needed for various risk levels identified in a risk assessment. For implementing safety measures, it is crucial to realistically evaluate both the likelihood of occurrence and the potential consequences of each identified hazard. This structured approach helps prioritise actions to mitigate risks in the workplace effectively.