5 Benefits of Conducting a Risk Assessment
A systematic risk assessment is the first step to creating a safe working environment for your employees.
Under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), employers must take reasonable precautions to protect their workers in the workplace, including identifying, controlling, or eliminating all possible hazards that could cause injury or illness.
In this article, we will examine five reasons why a risk assessment is crucial in any workplace. First, however, we will discuss what constitutes a risk assessment.
What is a risk assessment?
Every workplace environment has unique hazards that can cause injuries or ill health. Risks can range from wet floors and dangerous equipment to exposure to hazardous materials and fire hazards. A risk assessment takes a detailed look at your workplace and identifies any factors, situations, and processes that may cause harm to people.
After identification, you may analyze and determine the likelihood and severity of the risk before then deciding on the appropriate measures to effectively eliminate or control potential harm from happening.
The goal of a risk assessment is to answer the following questions:
- Where can accidents happen, and under what circumstances?
- What are the possible consequences?
- How likely is this scenario?
- Are the current measures enough to control the risk, or is further action required?
Why is a risk assessment important?
A risk assessment is essential to any occupational health and safety management plan. It protects your staff from physical and mental harm, and helps keep your business profitable by reducing costly downtime and payments. Here are five essential benefits that a risk assessment can provide.
1. Keep employees safe
Risk assessments not only protect employees and patrons from potential harm, but they can also save lives. Some hazards pose a greater risk than short-term injuries. They can be life-threatening or cause chronic health conditions. For example, fire hazards, heavy machinery, and prolonged exposure to dangerous materials can cause long-term health conditions or even be fatal.
Both employers and workers should familiarise themselves with the appropriate safety measures to eliminate or keep the risk of harm and fatalities in the workplace to a minimum.
2. Maximize productivity
Risk assessments help eliminate harmful barriers that employees might face when fulfilling their roles. By investing in facility upgrades and creating an ergonomic and safe workspace, employees can focus on their tasks, therefore increasing productivity and quality of work.
3. Save money
A risk assessment allows you to identify existing and potential safety risks in the workplace. It’s beneficial for employers to investigate and make the appropriate changes to eliminate or reduce these risks as much as possible so that there are fewer instances of work-related injuries or ill health.
Injured employees can put a significant financial strain on businesses over time. Not only will companies need to pay for sick days and the cost of employment coverage, but this may also involve legal fees.
Affected parties may claim compensation, and the government may issue fines or penalties if the company is found to be in breach of local health and safety guidelines. These fines can cause insurance premiums to rise later on.
4. Reduce company legal liability
Without health and safety policies and procedures in place, regulatory bodies can find your business at fault if an employee or customer gets hurt at the workplace. This can result in serious legal fees and fines.
Risk assessments not only reduce the chance of injuries and accidents, but also show employees and external bodies that your company has taken the steps necessary to protect people from harm and comply with local legislation.
5. Create a positive company image
Conducting a risk assessment shows a commitment to creating a safe workplace for your workers, which can boost the public perception of your company. Customers are more likely to purchase from a company they view positively, and other companies will want to be associated with a business that has strong moral values.
Your efforts to control and eliminate hazardous risks in the workplace will help your company maintain a positive brand image and avoid negative publicity.
When should you conduct a risk assessment?
A risk assessment should be carried out before any new processes or activities are introduced in the workplace, such as new products, machinery, tools, or equipment that may be hazardous.
There are also early warning signs that can indicate the presence of a hazard. These signs include, for example, a sudden increase in staff turnover, an unusual volume of absences due to illness, or complaints of stress and bullying among workers.
It is crucial to review your assessment and monitor your control methods on a regular basis to ensure that they are still effective. Any changes in the workplace can introduce a new hazard or a changed hazard that was once ranked as a low priority.
Don’t Take the Risk: Ensure Safety Through Engineering
HITE Engineering provides businesses of all sizes with professional risk assessment, Hazard & Operability (HAZOP), Process Hazard Analysis (PHA), and risk management services to ensure that your workplace is adopting health and safety best practices according to OHSA standards.
Our team of experienced engineers and technical staff have extensive knowledge and experience with all forms of risk assessment and management tools and courses. As your industry safety specialists, we offer comprehensive and practical solutions to ensure that you achieve the highest level of safety and compliance.