Step 3 - Assess the risk
Assess the risk for the highest priority hazard or hazardous job.
A risk assessment is used to find out what makes the job hazardous. When assessing the risk, it is essential to consult with those directly involved in doing the hazardous work to obtain first hand information about hazard exposures and potential problems and solutions.
The risk assessment should consider each of the following risk factors:
- physical activity required for the task, e.g. if it involves physical exertion, repetitive action, uncomfortable posture etc
- work environment, ie lighting, layout, temperature, egress routes, isolation, traffic etc
- nature of the hazard itself, e.g. hazardous substances, machinery, sharps/blades, radiation, potentially violent clients or intruders etc
- individuals involved in the process, ie their level of training and expertise, their physical capacity to perform the task, their health status ie., any existing condition that may increase the risk, e.g. injury, age, pregnancy, allergy etc
The risk assessment may find that one or more of these risk factors are present. This will be instructive in selecting suitable risk controls (Step 4).