A step-by-step guide on how to write a work-at-height risk assessment
Working at height activity gives its own set of risks that can cause harm or injury to workers. It is good to understand those risks and put control measures on them. This blog post will explore the step-by-step guide to do a risk assessment on work at height activity.
Following this process will help your team comply with working-at-height regulations. It will help you to understand how best to identify the risk in your working at height and how to put the control measures adequately.
Working at height risk assessment has the following steps when conducting it. Let’s see the steps one after the other.
Step 1- Identifying the hazards.
Step 2-Deciding who the hazard might harm.
Step 3-Evaluating the risk and deciding on the precautions
Step 4-Recording your findings and implementing them
Step 5-Review your assessment and update it if necessary.
Step 1- Identifying the hazards
There are so many ways to go about this particular step. In identifying the hazards, you have to follow the process below.
- Interview the workers and hear directly from them.
- Obtain the manufacturer instructions, manual or safety data sheet and check for the hazards in those documents.
- Obtain the accident and incident records of the site.
- Check for the first aid and medical records.
So, aside from the work-at-height risk, with this document, it can be easy to discover other hazards that are prevalent in the work environment. Such hazards could be manual handling, lone working, or fire risks.
These are the factors to determine under step 1.
- The working conditions where the people are working.
- The risk to safety from where the people are working
- The distance and the consequence when there is a fall from the height.
- The duration of using the work equipment
- The frequency of using the work equipment
- How easy will the evacuation and rescue be in an emergency?
- Other additional risks from using the work equipment. For example, Risks from the use, installation and removal of work equipment or evacuation and rescue.
- To determine whether the work equipment allows free passage without risks.
- To determine whether the work equipment is appropriate for the nature of the work.
Step 2- Deciding who might be harmed by the hazard.
This step is where you have to decide who might be harmed from the list of hazards you have identified from Step 1. From the list of hazards you have identified, list the people likely to be harmed by them.
The list of people who are likely going to be harmed below,
- Pregnant women.
- Young workers.
- Newly employed persons.
- Client Representative.
- Disabled people.
The list can go on, but the bottom line is to identify as many people as possible so that you can factor them into the working-at-height risk assessment. The list can’t be complete when all the persons likely to be in that work environment are not mentioned. Also, consider everyone involved in the work area where the hazard is present.
Step 3- Evaluating the risks.
Evaluating the risk will have you look at the hazards identified in Step 1 and decide whether to eliminate, substitute or control the hazard by any known hazard management control. During the evaluation step, you could consider the following:
- Eliminating the hazard.
- Substitute the hazard with a less hazardous one.
- Barricading the people against the hazard.
- Giving out personal protective equipment to people to control the hazard exposure.
- Training staff members to give them more information on hazard controls.
Then, you look at the existing controls and check if they are sufficient. If they are not, then provide new control measures.
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Step 4- Record your significant findings
This step will enable you to list all your findings from Step 1 to Step 3. At this step, you will notice and write down the following with your risk assessment template form:
- Whether the precautions you have listed are reasonable enough to prevent the hazard from causing harm and also if the risk is low.
- You notify whether the staff of the organization are involved in the process of the risk assessment;
- Identify and ascertain all necessary checks and deal with obvious significant hazards.
- The proper authorization and dates have to come at this step. Write the names of the assessor and the action and completion dates in the risk assessment template.
Step 5- Review and update if necessary.
At this step, you can review the risk assessment if you find out that it is needed. Some organizations review their risk assessment every 12 months. In other instances, some factors can necessitate a review of the risk assessment. A review of the risk assessment can happen due to the following:
- When there is a new change to the existing work.
- After an accident investigation and reporting
- When there is new employment in the organization
- Introduction of new technology or equipment in the workplace
Conclusion: Work at height risk assessment
In conclusion, work-at-height risk assessment is a tool that helps to guide work-at-height activities. It is an integral part of the safety management system. The work at height risk assessment identifies the hazards, considers those that might be harmed, and shows adequate control measures. The document is reviewed regularly and is updated to reflect the current version. The implementation of the risk assessment will guarantee a safer and healthy workplace.
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