Risk assessment and risk management
Risk is a function of the probability of an unwanted event and the consequences of this.
A risk assessment is a thorough review of what can cause damage or illness so that one can evaluate whether sufficient measures against this have been taken or whether more precautions should be taken.
Three simple questions form the core of the risk assessment:
- What could go wrong?
- What can we do to prevent something from going wrong?
- What can we do to reduce the consequences if something goes wrong?
Safe job analysis
A safe job analysis is a method that can be well suited to the risk analysis of individual tasks, e.g. analysis methods in the laboratory. The work task is broken down into sections and an analysis is made for each section of the possibility of an unwanted event and what could possibly be done to prevent it. The need for training and protective equipment is also analysed. The analyses can be set up in a separate form.
A risk analysis can be set up in a matrix where the probability of an unwanted event is marked on one axis and the consequences of it on the other. The criteria for the different probabilities and the consequences could be:
|1||Very seldom||1||Not dangerous|
The matrix might well be 3x3, even if the example is 5x5.
Risk management is a process that is designed to be able to identify, assess, handle and follow up risk so that the risk is within an acceptable level. The risk is then under control.
Risk management assumes that
- there is a goal to attempt to achieve
- there is information and communication
- management is involved
Critical success factors in this process are:
- The adequate training of all staff, employees and students.
- Documented local routines for important and/or risky tasks. (Documentation can be logbooks, minutes from meetings etc., not just traditional procedures.)
- A review to ensure routines are appropriate and are followed up. (This shall be done for audits and safety rounds.)
- An established system for recording unwanted events, among other things to ensure learning takes place.