1. Identify the hazards
Try to identify anything that could possibly cause harm. Conduct a walkthrough of your facility to ensure nothing is missed. You can also form a team with individuals from different backgrounds/departments for extra eyes to identify hazards.
2. Identify who may be harmed and how
Many businesses have staff from different departments, customers that visit the facility, contractors, members of the public etc. It is important to identify who may be harmed from the hazards you identified and how they would be harmed.
3. Evaluate the risks and assign control measures
A common method for evaluating risks is to consider with equal importance the impact (severity) of the risk occurring and the likelihood of it occurring, and then multiplying the impact score with the likelihood score to obtain an overall risk score (i.e. estimated risk). This is called a risk matrix. A 3×3 matrix or a 5×5 matrix are commonly used. The key to using these methods is to be consistent in your approach.
It should be remembered that risk scoring often involves a degree of judgement or subjectivity. Where data or information on past events or patterns is available, it will be helpful in enabling more evidence-based judgements.
When thinking about how to assign control measures it is always safe to follow the ‘hierarchy of controls.’ You may need just one step or you may need to layer the control measures to ensure optimum protection depending on the type of hazard and its associated risk.
4. Record findings
It is recommended that you record all of your findings and evaluations as it shows that you have covered all bases and considered all avenues to control a hazard as much as is reasonably practicable.
5. Review the assessment and update as necessary
Things are always changing whether it is equipment, staff rotation, design setup or unfortunately an incident occurred; it is essential to revisit the risk assessment and update it accordingly due to all changes and ensure that people and the environment are protected as much as possible.