Risk management is the systematic approach to managing hazards found on a typical construction work site.
It is a five step process which is employed after preparing for the process by defining the context.
The preparation you will need to do in defining the context includes means identifying the tasks, activities, processes and practices which will be employed on your site during the construction process and general site activities.
Defining the context involves identifying:
work processes, practices, activities and tasks that will be analysed in the risk
management process and the steps involved;
the people involved in carrying out those work processes and in what capacity;
whether the people involved are sufficiently competent, skilled experienced; and
what items of plant or material are to be used
any site specific hazards such as watercourses, steep site areas, confined spaces etc
From this point we start on the five step process:
Assess and Prioritise Risk
Decide on Control Measures
Implement Control Measures
Monitor and Review
The process must be circular, that is it must be continually applied, modified and improved throughout the course of the project.
The most common reasons for modifying a control are:
1. Deficiency observed in the original control (it isn’t working)
2. There is a change in the way a task is being completed (could include different plant and equipment)
There are five basic steps in the workplace health and safety risk management process.
Workplace health and safety risk management is an ongoing process. It should be undertaken at various times, including:
• now, if you have not done it before;
• when a change occurs;
• after an incident (and/or “near miss”); and
• at regularly scheduled times appropriate to your workplace.
If you have not worked through a process to make sure health and safety is managed at your workplace, you should do so now.
When change occurs
Whenever you make a change at the workplace, check for new hazards and risks, and then continue through the process. Any modifications made as a result of this process should be discussed with those workers affected. Some examples of workplace changes are:
• starting a new project; • changing work procedures; • adding or changing tools, equipment or machinery, their locations or the way they are used; • obtaining information about a previously unknown design or manufacturing fault, or about a previously unidentified hazard; • introducing new people with different skill levels; and • changing a control measure after reviewing its effectiveness.
After an incident
If an incident (or near miss) occurs, review the workplace health and safety risk management process in relation to the relevant task to determine whether changes are needed and what those changes should be. Such changes should be discussed with all workers performing the task.
You should repeat the whole workplace health and safety risk management process at regularly scheduled intervals appropriate to your workplace.
The period between repeating the process will depend on the nature of the hazards and associated risks and the degree of change likely in the work activity. Generally, you should undertake the process more often if there is a high level of risk involved with your work activities compared with a low level of risk.
You should consult with your workers at each stage of the workplace health and safety risk management process.
This will help you achieve better health and safety outcomes from the risk management process.
As an owner-builder, this means talking to your contractors and working with them to identify health and safety issues which will affect:
Visitors to the site
Special note for Owner Builders
The hierarchy of risk control
The ways of controlling risks are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest as shown in the figure below. This ranking is known as the hierarchy of risk control. The WHS Regulations require duty holders to work through this hierarchy when managing risk under the WHS Regulations.
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