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Risk Assessment and Risk Management in the Workplace

According to Section 10 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act every employer must analyze, identify and estimate the inconvenience and risks that concern the safety and health of the employees.

Risk assessment means identifying of hazards at work, defining the hazard and stipulating the risk associated with the hazard. Risk assessment is at its best preventative occupational safety.

Risk assessment is a systematic process designated to create a safe work environment. The work environment must be monitored and dangerous situations must be carefully investigated. Risk assessment and risk management is part of the security operation at the workplace.

Alandia Insurance co-operates with risk assessment consultant Tom Johnsson from Tapaturva Oy in risk assessment theory and practice. You’re welcome to contact us if you are interested in participating in a risk assessment education, if you need a helping hand in making your risk assessment or if you want to discuss occupational safety matters.

Safety at Work and Risk Assessment

Identification of hazards and risk assessment should be the base for the safety at work work at the workplace.

 The steps of a risk assessment are:

1) indentify hazards and risks

2) identify who may be at risk

3) qualitative or quantitative risk assessment of hazards

4) implementing of risk management methods (by removing a hazard or reducing the level of it´s risk)

Definitions and Terminology

Risk is the likelihood and severity of a harmful incident.

Hazard is a source or circumstance that can cause a severe accident.

Safety refers to a condition where prohibited risks are at an acceptable level.

Risk assessment is a process in which one evaluates the risk to the worker’s health and safety as a result of a dangerous situation at the workplace.

Risk analysis is part of the risk assessment. In the risk analysis the marginal values for the object is stipulated, the risks are identified and the extent of the risk is evaluated.

Risk management

Risk management is an overall view to approach hazards and measures to reduce and eliminate injuries. Before an effective risk assessment is possible the hazards needs to be identified and estimated. The estimation of the likelihood and severity of harm as well as choosing and accomplishing sufficient safety measures are also part of the risk management process.

The actions to be taken can be valued for example by the following criteria:

  • increased level of safety; more effective use of an action to reduce a greater risk the more efficient the action.
  • the result of the proportions; the more the risks and the more the safety of the more people is affected by the action the more efficient the action.
  • reached goals; it is effective to accomplish the measurement if one by doing so can repair the deficiencies that led to that the statutory and private or group of interested’s objectives could not be realized.
  • a smoother operation; if the work as a consequence of the action is done more easily it’s worth doing even if the impact on the safety at work is not appreciable.  
  • cost-efficiency; the best measurements are not necessarily expensive. Often remarkable results are achieved by making small changes with less expenses.

A good risk assessment is based on a total evaluation, that leads to a constant rise of the safety level. The maintenance and the improvement of the safety level  calls for constant follow-ups and development of the organization.

Identification of Hazards and Risk Assessment

The inconveniences and hazards related to work at the workplace, the facilities, work environment and working conditions should be analysed and identified systematically. If the problems can not be eliminated, it is necessary to assess their impact on the health and safety of the employees.

When assessing the hazards one should pay attention especially to

  • the risk of accidents and health risks
  • ergonomical and physical, psychologial and social severity disadvantage
  • the structure and construction of the work place and working environment
  • the safety of machines, work tools and other equipment
  • the prevention of accidents, rescue operations and first aid
  • the facilities used by the employees
  • occured accidents, occupational diseases and workrelated diseases and also dangerous situations so called near misses
  • the age, sex, competence and other personal qualifications of the employee