Reducing the Consequence of a Risk

Over the many years SOS has been in operation and auditing we have reviewed many risk assessments, SWMS, JHA’s/JSA’s etc. This was either for a direct client or client’s contractors (including sub-contractors). One item that seems to pop up on a regular basis when a person/people are conducting and writing up the assessment is that they have reduced the severity of the consequences of a hazard i.e. Major – minor.

However, further analysis of these assessments indicate many reduced consequences are based on either administrative controls or PPE controls (This can lead to unwanted outcomes later if procedures weren’t followed or PPE not applied)! They haven’t appeared to consider other higher level controls or identify that the likelihood would reduce but not the consequence (based on these admin / PPE controls).

There are several options for risk control:

  • Controls that reduce the likelihood of the hazardous event or hazard.
  • Controls that reduce the consequences of the hazardous event or hazard.
  • Controls that reduce both likelihood and consequence.

Risk assessments are conducted utilising the Hierarchy of Control either as an individual control or a combination of controls. Eliminating the hazard and risk is the highest level of control in the hierarchy, followed by reducing the risk through substitution, isolation and engineering controls, then through administrative controls/ Reducing risk through PPE is the lowest level of control.

Hierarchy of Control examples:

Elimination Control:

  • During the design phase you place the air conditioner on the ground and not on the roof you eliminate the working at height issues when installing it or maintaining it.

Substitution Control:

  • Substitute the air conditioner for a thermal mass maze.
  • When installing and maintaining air conditioner, utilise battery powered portable tools.

Isolation Control:

  • When conducting maintenance of the air conditioner disconnect the air conditioner from the electrical power source

Engineering Control:

  • Place guarding around the fan belt and fan areas to reduce the chances of the cutting and entanglement hazards.

Administrative Controls:

  • Tag out procedure when performing maintenance on the Air conditioner
  • Tag out sign / tag.

 Personal Protective Equipment Controls

  • Wear gloves

Generally, consequence will not be reduced unless the hazard is eliminated or substituted.

If you do need any assistance in reviewing your current risk assessments get in contact with us.




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