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Measuring Risk and Periodic Review
Risk Measuring The associated potential risk of injury or damage during a work activity can be measured using a potential severity matrix, which allows for easier comparison of similar risks across different work activities and allows easier identification of the relevant hierarchical hazard controls required.
Risk can be measured as a quantum of the potential effect of a hazard and the probability of that effect being realised. in simple terms, combining the potential injury (e.g. a fall) with the likelihood of it happening (by assessing controls in place) then a risk value can be named (e.g. “high” for high severities with high likelihoods, “medium” and “low” for low severities with low likelihoods). These different risk values should be listed in a table with the different axes such as “Likelihood” and “Potential Injury”, reading across the relevant rows will lead to the right risk value.
Once the loss potential and the probability have been assessed, the level of risk can be calculated on the matrix. As an example of the levels of risk that can be derived, an operative working from a scaffold platform may be exposed to the hazard of working at height. the potential effect could be fatal injury, but since the scaffold has been erected by a competent person and the worker is suitably and sufficiently restrained from falling, the probability of the effect being realised is unlikely resulting in a low risk. As a further example, if there were no controls in place then the result would be “high risk” and then this would need to be addressed within the risk assessment process, to identify reasonably practicable controls that would sufficiently reduce the risk so that it could then be reclassified as “low”.
Periodic Review It is essential that the risk assessment is reviewed throughout the duration of the job to ensure the suitability and sufficiency of the assessment compared to the current task and hazards within the area are constant and controlled. Since the risk assessment may not have been carried out immediately prior to the commencement of the activity and the nature of work may bring changes in activity/work environment.
All the operatives involved in the activity should hold a pre-job safety meeting prior to the commencement of any work activity and following any significant period away from the worksite.i.e. after lunch and tea breaks, to ensure the need for management of change.