Workers who are exposed to the same risks (homogenous group) together assume a leading role in preventing those risks. The homogeneous group is then the basic unit in monitoring all aspects of our working conditions and environment that can be aggressive for our health.
That is why we seek to identify risk factors and systematize them in a registry. Risk is the probability that the ability to cause damage is verified in the conditions of use or exposure.
The main objective of risk assessment is prevention because what you are looking for is:
– Determine existing hazards in the workplace and assess the risks associated with them in order to establish appropriate measures for the protection of workers’ health and safety.
– Evaluate the risks to choose the most appropriate work equipment, conditioning and organization of the workplace, the substances to be used, etc.
– Check if the existing measures are adequate.
From here, the priorities are established.
Once the proposed preventive measures and working methods are put into practice, it is necessary to assess whether they really ensure greater protection for workers’ health and safety.
In places where conditions change frequently, such as construction, the risk assessment must take these changes into account.
Whenever an innovation is going to be introduced in the workplace, a risk assessment must be carried out. For example, when new equipment or materials are introduced, new processes, modifications in the organization of work, etc.
Care must be taken that the control measures applied after the evaluation do not cause a transfer of risk: that it passes to another area or that it generates a new risk.
It is important to take into account the presence in the workplace of employees of other companies: they will also be exposed to risks, but in addition their work can generate risks for stable employees of the work.
Methodology for risk assessment
There are no fixed standards and there are many ways and methods for risk assessment. But it is always important to keep in mind that you have to study all the dangerous elements and important risks. For example, do not forget tasks such as cleaning. And when a risk is identified, the first thing to evaluate is whether it can be eliminated.
For risk assessment we must rely on:
The observation of the workplace environment: access roads, machinery safety, presence of dust, temperature, noise, lighting, etc.
Identification of all tasks performed in the workplace so that none is excluded. Then we study each of these tasks, with observations, while the work is being done.
Study of external factors (such as weather conditions) and in general the factors that can influence or cause stress in the workplace.
In some cases a single evaluation may be sufficient, but in general a process with several successive phases is necessary in which our knowledge is deepened and made more precise. It must also be taken into account that in an industry such as construction, conditions change permanently.