As a business owner, it is your prime responsibility to ensure safety in the workplace. By doing this, you earn the confidence of your employees, which, in turn, leads to an increase in operational efficiency.
So, how do you actually execute workplace safety? The key is Risk Assessment.
In this article, we will explore what risk assessment is, how to execute and simplify the risk assessment process, and how risk assessment services can help protect your business in the long run.
Risk Assessment Explained
Risk assessment is a streamlined process of analyzing and evaluating the risk factors associated with a given work environment based on the nature of the business concerned. This makes way for businesses to identify potential risks and take steps to mitigate them, thereby avoiding accidents and other uncertainties at the workplace.
The risk assessment process usually involves five steps, including risk identification, risk evaluation, identifying preventive measures, formal documentation, and risk assessment review.
Some companies employ in-house risk management teams to identify and protect against workplace hazards. However, it is best to hire professional risk assessment services to carry out the process in a more streamlined and flawless manner. After all, risk assessment is a legal requirement so it is important not to botch it.
In the United States, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has made it compulsory for companies of all sizes to carry out risk assessments to ensure safety for employees and customers. Likewise, according to the Health and Safety at Work Act, the UK has made risk assessment a mandatory segment for legal compliance.
That said, neglecting or compromising the quality of risk assessment can lead to serious consequences for your business down the line. While it is mandatory for businesses of all sizes to conduct risk assessments, the guidelines in connection with the process may vary from one industry to the other. This is because the risk factors associated with one sector may be completely different from the other.
Let’s explore a practical example.
Suppose you own a chemical company. The potential risks associated with your workplace might include infections and allergies due to prolonged exposure to chemicals, spillage of chemicals, and more. This may not be the same for an individual who runs a machinery business. On the contrary, the risk factors associated with this workplace may be anything from equipment malfunction to physical injuries for employees.
How To Streamline & Simplify Risk Assessment
Since risk assessment can be a complex process, some companies leverage their resources, such as managers and supervisors, to perform risk assessments as an economical and simple option.
Keep in mind, a wrong move in terms of risk assessment planning can cost your company a lot of money and resources. While opening doors for inefficient risk assessment, using in-house teams to assess workplace risks can lead to a loss of productivity as these employees will have limited time to perform their core roles and responsibilities, and this may cause a strain on the business.
So, how do you simplify risk assessment? How do you get it done perfectly without your core business activities getting affected? This is precisely where risk assessment services come into play.
First, equipped with expertise and experience, risk assessment service providers can carry out the entire process, from risk identification to documentation, in a short period of time.
Second, the risk assessment guidelines differ from one sector to the other. With risk assessment as the core of their operation, your service provider will have worked with a wide variety of businesses, and this experience will allow for a more simplified and streamlined process.
Focusing on various aspects of the workplace, maintenance activities, incident records, off-site employees, method of work, and unpredictable conditions are some of key aspects of properly assessing risks. Remember to pick the best possible risk assessment service provider to achieve the strongest results.
What Risk Assessment Services Entail
Here’s the big picture of some of the key elements of the risk assessment process.
1. Identifying Risks
To assess and mitigate potential risks, you need to identify them in the first place. However, not all workplace risks are obvious. While you can identify some easily, a meticulous examination of your workplace is necessary to find out the other risk factors.
A risk assessment professional visits the specified place to identify all possible risks that others may miss out on.
2. Assess the Probability of Risks
Getting to know the previous hazardous incidents at the workplace is a vital part of risk assessment.
A risk assessment consultant consolidates the previous incidents, from slip-and-fall cases to fatal workplace accidents, to assess the likelihood of those risks happening anytime in the future.
3. Determine the Potential Impact
Once the risks and the probability of them occurring again is identified, the risk assessment expert tries to find out the kind of impact they might have on your business.
For instance, if an employee receives a minor work-related injury, they will likely receive a short, paid leave. On the other hand, if the injury causes serious damage to the quality of the employees’ life, they can file a lawsuit, which may lead to a significant financial liability for the company.
4. Prioritize The Most Critical Risks
Next, your service provider will leverage the risk matrix to rank or prioritize risks based on the intensity of the impact they can create. When it comes to the ranking process, the risk assessment expert will take into consideration how many people are exposed to a given risk, how long they are exposed, the ill effects it can lead to, and more.
5. Build an Action Plan
Once all potential risks have been prioritized, your service provider will come up with strategies to mitigate them. This action plan may include modifications in the company supply chain, training sessions for employees, advanced cybersecurity measures, and more. This action plan will vary depending on the nature of the business.
It is critically important to ensure the risk assessment is formally documented for future use. The plan should be re-reviewed and updated every time a key change takes place in the workplace. A formal document of the previous risk assessments will come in handy during such times, and can help with making further enhancements.
Finding the Best Risk Assessment Service Provider
How do you know if a risk assessment service provider is best for you? Here are a few important pillars to consider.
It is important to conduct due diligence to ensure you have a credible and reliable professional by your side. Start by looking for trusted names in the risk assessment space with years or decades of experience.
Experience and Expertise
Risk assessment is a skill that is mastered over time. That said, it is a wise move to opt for a service provider who is known for field expertise and is backed with a large volume of good reviews or referrals.
Prior Track Record
Analyzing the track record is another way to find the best possible service provider. Choose a provider with a consistent track record of delivering desired results for clients. Reach out to their prior clientele to get a sense of how they performed and their overall level of professionalism.
Every business has a unique budget based on its size, requirements, etc. Look for a service provider who offers a flexible pricing structure in order to stay within your desired budget.
Some companies, for instance, businesses prioritizing cybersecurity, may need instant risk assessment support. If this applies to your business, make sure the service provider you select is readily available to begin working.
Risk assessment is a necessity for businesses on both legal and ethical grounds. Apart from adherence to the law, it is your responsibility as an employer to ensure a safe and hospitable environment for employees and customers alike.
However, risk assessment is often too complex for businesses to handle on their own, and that’s why it makes sense to consider hiring risk assessment services for timely assistance. While simplifying the process for you, your service provider will ensure that specified standards of risk management are met. That said, if you take the necessary steps to narrow down and hire the right risk assessment service provider, your business will be set up for success in the long run.