How to manage work risks
Different businesses will have different health and safety risks. It all depends on the type of work you do.
A healthy and safe workplace starts with identifying and understanding what your work-related health and safety risks are; particularly those that have the potential to cause people serious injury or illness. It then involves doing what is reasonable, what is practical and what you are able to do to eliminate or, where they can’t be eliminated, minimise those risks. This is what we refer to as proportionate risk management.
Your focus should be on managing your business’s most significant risks before managing less serious risks. Your work activities should be reviewed on an ongoing basis to identify any new risks that need to be managed.
Here we've pulled together some general guidance on how to manage your work health and safety risks. This includes a framework that guides you through the process for identifying, assessing, managing and controlling risks.
We've also developed some industry-specific examples and guidance to help get you started.
Managing your work health and safety risks
The following risk management framework describes four steps that can help you with managing your workplace health and safety risks.
Once you've assessed the workplace risks associated with your business, you need to decide how you will deal with them.
Consider first whether the risk be eliminated (eg can you remove the source of the harm?). If the risk can’t be eliminated, then it must be minimised using control measures.
To determine the control measures you should use:
Your health and safety systems should be ‘living’ and become part of business as usual. You should check that the control measures you put in place are being used by your workers and are effective. Monitoring mechanisms might include:
You should review your work activities on an ongoing basis to identify any new risks that might need to be managed.
Reviewing also means thinking about the way you identify, assess and control risks – do your processes work, or is there a better way to do these activities. For example, could you involve workers more, do you need to have a different method to assess consequences and the likelihood of the risk happening, and could you improve the way that you monitor your risk control effectiveness?
It's not all about paperwork
Good paperwork does not equal good health and safety.
Documentation should be used where appropriate to support your health and safety processes. Documentation is not however a substitute for having good processes and control measures in place to actively manage your health and safety risks.
Need more help?
Have a look at our industry-specific guidance and examples to help get you started.
Last updated 26 August 2016
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