Friday, February 12, 2016

Always be Reviewing Risk

At a recent presentation we gave, the question came up:  Should risk assessments be reviewed periodically, and how often?  The answer to the first part of the question is a resounding yes, and the answer to the second part really depends.  Risk Assessments are an important part of a machine safeguarding plan.  Its important to note that the best risk assessments are not static documents but living documents that change with conditions.  In our newest blog we discuss some conditions that may necessitate a review of your machine risk assessments.

 

We’ll go under the assumption that your machine safeguarding plan is built upon risk assessments.  Its an important building block, and the whole discussion following is about reviewing them periodically.  Its important that you have them, so that if things change with your equipment, you know the work and due diligence you did to get to this point.  So what might generate a review of risk assessments?

 

Incident or Near Miss:  Lets hope it was a near miss, but any type of incident would be an important trigger for a review of the risk assessments.  Take the information from your near miss report and cross check your risk assessment.  Did you have the root cause of the incident as a hazard on your risk assessment?  Were the controls you proposed sufficient to protect the worker?  These near miss reviews can be important clues to how well prepared you are.  Was the incident with an operator, or maybe a third party?  Maybe all the tasks and hazards were not considered because third parties weren’t considered originally.

 

Process Change:  Perhaps you are moving a piece of equipment or making a change to the products that will be run on it.  This would be another opportunity to review the risk assessment.  A process change or new product could create new tasks, or maybe new hazards.  An example might be adding new products that require a helper or additional operator.  The original risk assessment might have only considered one operator, and the review might uncover new hazards when a second person is added to the task.

 

Established Time:  You may want to avoid waiting for the above conditions to happen, in case they are not a set frequency.  You might just want to set an established frequency for all of your risk assessment reviews.  You could vary that time period depending on the overall risk of the equipment.  High risk machines could be reviewed more often than lower risk equipment, so that the work to review multiple risk assessments doesn’t happen to overwhelm the team.

 

 

No matter what you choose to trigger your reviews, its important to understand you always want to be reviewing risk.

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 7:29 AM

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