Hazard / Risk Identification

Hazards in the workplace involve consideration and identification of the sources of risk, their impact and the likely consequences.

Risk is analysed by identifying and then managing potential problems that could undermine an organisation’s capacity to conduct business, carry out key projects, and supply products and/or services. In most circumstances existing controls are considered and the most pertinent information and techniques then used to analyse consequences and likelihood. Sources of information may include the following:

  • Past records
  • Practice and relevant experience
  • Consultation with workers and Health and Safety Committees
  • Relevant published material
  • Specialist and expert judgements
  • Codes of practice and relevant standards
  • Product information

Consequence and likelihood tables are used to provide definitions for rating scales so there is a common understanding of their meaning. Tables should be consistent with the specific objectives and context of the risk management activity. Remember:

  • Risk assessment is a necessary step in the hazard management process
  • There are many methods used to identify hazards and their risks
  • History is not always a reliable indicator of risk – just because it hasn’t happened in the past doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future
  • Reassessment is essential when hazard circumstances change