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The Risk Assessment Process determines the likelihood of an injury or illness from a particular hazard and the severity and type of injury should an accident occur. The risk posed by a hazard is related to the severity of an incident and/or the frequency and duration of exposure to the hazard. Decide who might be at risk from the hazard such as workers, subcontractors or visitors and the factors contributing to the risk, what injuries or impact on health and welfare could result, and how likely is this to occur. To assess the risks from a particular hazard you should consider:

  • How many people will be exposed;
  • How often in a day or week is the task/activity performed and what is the length of exposure;
  • What are the consequences of short-term and long-term exposure;
  • How close is the worker to the hazard and what engineering controls are preventing exposure;
  • How does the layout and condition of the workplace affect exposure;
  • What is the energy level of the hazard e.g. weight, voltage, volume, amplitude, height above ground and concentration etc;
  • Are workers appropriately trained, skilled and experienced to perform their tasks;
  • What is the history of injuries related to exposure of that hazard;
  • Is biological or atmospheric monitoring done and what are the results;
  • What are the health effects associated with ingesting, inhaling, or absorbing through the skin or eyes a hazardous substance;
  • Are there abnormal conditions foreseeable that could result in greater exposure;
  • What current work practices expose workers to hazards and have SWMS been reviewed within the last 12 months or after new work procedures and/or new workers are engaged; and
  • What other contributing factors could cause harm, consider all possibilities.

Also consider any special needs of workers when assessing risks:

  • Does the person have any physical or medical health conditions that carrying out the task may affect their health or their ability to do the task safely;
  • Does the worker take medication that may affect their ability to perform the task safely;
  • Are the workers trained and experienced to carry out the task;
  • What level of physical activity is required to carry out the task and is the worker capable of performing the task without risk to their health; and
  • Are there adequate breaks from particular tasks or job rotation to avoid fatigue? Workers must be able to function effectively both physically and mentally to perform safe work practices. If the worker becomes fatigued or uncomfortable this could impair decision-making and affect the ability to follow safe working procedures.
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