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Risk Assessments

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Fred
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Risk Assessments

Post by Fred » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:07 am

Hi all, a quick question on Risk Assessments, to which I am trying to gain a better understanding of. I was wondering if someone could clarify a quick query on risk ratings.

Say you have an 'initial risk' column (comprising of likelihood x severity) and then you have a 'residual risk' column (after the controls to reduce the risk).

Should the 'severity' figure always remain the same, and only the 'likelyhood' figure be reduced? I think that's the case but I'm having a brain melt down.

Thanks all.
F

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Re: Risk Assessments

Post by bernicarey » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:29 am

clapclap clapclap
:sign5:

You have just opened the biggest can of worms.
This is like a Klaxon Moment during the TV show QI.
If you search the forums you will find some 'heated' discussion over the years about whether Severity can ever be reduced, with some strongly held opinions that it never can.

Well, it can.
Anyone who's done a Managing Safety Course should agree with that because that is what IOSH teach.

A simple example scenario.

Crashing a standard saloon car.

Crash it at 150mph on a sharp bend, most likely outcome death.
Introduce Control Measure, a speed limiter to 15 mph.
Drive the same route.
Even if you still crash it on the same bend, because you're such a terrible driver...Death is now practically impossible.
Severity has been reduced.
.salut
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Fred
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Re: Risk Assessments

Post by Fred » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:53 am

Thanks for your swift response bernicarey and I agree with your thoughts.

I was told by a health and safety auditor that 'severity' should always be the same (in both the initial risk and residual risk. He gave an example of if someone is changing a window and they fall they are likely to die or suffer major injuries. He said even if you put in suitable controls to minimise the risk, if they still fall, they will still have the same outcome. I took this on board but at the same time, was not entirely in agreement as to if severity should ALWAYS be the same for every task.

An example I have is that we have a project where we will be working within a building that was constructed in 2002. The likelihood of asbestos present is low, but if it is was found once underway, then the severity/ impact would be high. In the controls column we have therefore made reference to an asbestos survey being carried out which confirmed that no asbestos is present. Within the residual risk rating, the likelihood would therefore be low, but would the severity/ impact still be high, even though it’s proved there is no asbestos present?

Thanks
F

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Re: Risk Assessments

Post by bernicarey » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:17 am

Hi Fred
I would say that your Building is 2 years beyond the 'Cut Off Date' for the use of Asbestos in construction, so having had a survey to confirm that there is none, the odds of your finding any are infinitesimal small.

Remember that Asbestos is not a lethal pathogen that one sniff of will kill you. It requires a reasonable amount of exposure usually over a period of time.

So if, all factors considered, one of the workers actually finds some (whilst drilling for example), the severity is still going to be LOW, especially if they are taking basic dust mask precautions due to drilling brick walls and such.

Have you seen http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg223.pdf

To quote from page 5
Was the building built or refurbished before 2000?
■ If Yes, assume asbestos is present.
■ If No, asbestos is unlikely to be present – no action required.

.....
If the building’s age or the information you obtain provide strong evidence that no ACMs are present, then you
do not need to do anything other than to record why this evidence indicates there is no asbestos present.
So to my mind you have already far exceeded your legal requirements for protection of the workforce - don't cripple yourself with an excessive Severity on a negligable Risk. .salut
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Re: Risk Assessments

Post by Fred » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:47 am

Thanks Bernicarey.

Ignoring my asbestos example then, i would really like to hear from others on if severity must always be the same in both 'initial risk' and 'residual risk'.

Much appreciated.
F


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Re: Risk Assessments

Post by bernicarey » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:01 am

www.belvoirsafety.co.uk

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Re: Risk Assessments

Post by safetylady » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:13 pm

You would do well to revisit the HSE guidance on RA.
And reread regulation 3 of MAHAS regs.

You can spend hours debating this, and similar detail on numerical ratings, or you can spend your time much better by writing up a simpler RA process (so auditors audit you on that) in line with HSE guide and examples, and focussing on solutions - the risk controls.
Will faffing about with columns and severity numbers make any difference to what you will advise on controls? No, thought not.

IOSH tentacles spreading everywhere.

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Re: Risk Assessments

Post by safetysooz » Mon May 15, 2017 5:14 pm

Hi
I'm a bit concerned at this statement;

"Remember that Asbestos is not a lethal pathogen that one sniff of will kill you. It requires a reasonable amount of exposure usually over a period of time."

According to a barrister at law and former author and co-editor of Occupational Illness Litigation, and the author of the section on Asbestos Disease Litigation, "There is no known minimum safe dose level of inhalation of asbestos fibres,..."
As read in the Home Help section of Home,The Sunday Times May 14 2017.

If that 'one sniff'' contains asbestos fibres that make it into the lung then it may well lead to ill-health, severe debilitation and an unpleasant death.

Also, to avoid confusion the term pathogen is used in the modern sense to describe an infectious agent. Asbestos is not a micro-organism and so is not an infectious agent.

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Re: Risk Assessments

Post by Steve M » Mon May 15, 2017 6:54 pm

I am with you ss

I was a bit concerned about this when I read it before, when I got home from work I couldn't find the post, then forgot about it.

I was concerned that people reading this site may believe it, as I am sure you are aware, there is no safe level of asbestos, there is an acceptable level 0.01 fibre per cm3 or 0.6 fibre per cm3 peak over a 20 minute if I remember correctly.

unfortunately, no one knows at what level it is safe because it's impossible to measure how much people inhaled before contracting their illness 30 to 40 years later.
Stating it as a fact was a bit disturbing.

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Re: Risk Assessments

Post by stephen1974 » Tue May 16, 2017 5:17 pm

I think severity can be reduced. Thats the whole point of PPE isnt it. It doesnt stop the likehood of something happening, it stops the severity.

Example,
falling off a motor bike. Wearing a crash helmet doesnt reduce the risk of falling off, but it does reduce the severity of any impact.
Wearing a nasty green plastic suit when changing a pressurised barrel of acid, doesnt stop a pressure failure spraying you with acid, but does stop you auditioning for the wicked witch of the west.

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Re: Risk Assessments

Post by witsd » Wed May 17, 2017 10:12 am

Steve M wrote:
Mon May 15, 2017 6:54 pm
unfortunately, no one knows at what level it is safe because it's impossible to measure how much people inhaled before contracting their illness 30 to 40 years later.
Stating it as a fact was a bit disturbing.
Not my area of expertise by a long way, but I was under the impression that examinations of the lungs of those who have died from asbestos-related cancers has consistently found hundreds of thousands of fibres.
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'

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Re: Risk Assessments

Post by ddlh » Sun May 21, 2017 5:05 pm

Agreed severity can be reduced as long as you have proper systems in place and not depending on the person complying such as wearing the crash helmet or complying with driving at 15mph instead of 150.

The majority of incidents are down to people and their actions. And even when you replace people with technology that technolog and systems require to be set correctly by people- and people are scarily liable to make mistakes.

So in my humble opinion - severity should not be reduced in the risk assessment

Dave
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