To improve or mitigate against unacceptable risk, it is necessary first, to assess the current level using the right kind of assessment method.
It would be unwise to delay a decision when driving by first performing a written risk assessment. Accident avoiding steps must be immediate and automatic.
Inappropriate too, would be to spend thousands of dollars on a quantified risk assessment (QRA), when operating a small business.
Prevention of injury in the workplace requires an intermediate risk assessment technique such as Job Safety Analysis (JSA).
As well as providing immediate advice, we conduct THREE levels of risk assessment :-
Use of a 5 x 5 risk matrix
Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) or Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA)
Quantified Risk Assessment (QRA).
USE OF A RISK MATRIX
This involves allocating 1 to 5 scores for severity of consequences and for likelihood of occurrence. Multiplying these together yields 14 risk levels in the range 1 to 25. An 'immediate action' risk level is set at 10 and above. Other risks are then addressed with a lower priority.
HAZARD AND OPERABILITY STUDY (HAZOP)
This is a formal, thorough and time consuming process of considering a range of eventualities, involving several employees sitting around a table with access to a Process Flow Diagram (PFD) or Process and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID), assisted by a FACILITATOR.
We facilitate HAZOPs and provide a detailed report there following.
LAYERS OF PROTECTION ANALYSIS (LOPA)
Similar in style to a HAZOP, this involves individuals from a range of disciplines within an organisation working with a FACILITATOR to establish how many layers of protection there are to prevent a particular range of adverse consequences. Sometimes, this process leads to allocation of risk numbers such as the probability of death per person per year. Strictly however, this is only appropriate in a QRA.
QUANTIFIED RISK ASSESSMENT (QRA)
Also known as Quantitative Risk Assessment, this is a formalised and reproducible method of complex probabilistic analysis, often involving use of mathematical models. Competently performed using the same model, QRA is sufficiently accurate to compare risks in different facilities and in the same plant before and after modification. A good QRA will also permit comparison with statutory criteria and an absolute determination of compliance or otherwise. Conversely in the wrong hands and using computer models which cannot be peer-reviewed, QRA may be no better than a 'means of achieving the numbers required'.
We perform Quantified Risk Assessment (QRA) by using (i) hand calculation based upon our own model (ii) TNO Effects 8 modelling (iii) GexCon FLACS Computational Fluid Dynamics Explosion modelling (iv) GexCon Probabilistic Analysis AND, (v) by applying the findings of extensive research conducted after Buncefield by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
If the risk is great enough and the facility desires it, we will perform physical explosion modelling under controlled conditions.
Many risks are obvious and mitigatory measures equally so. They do not need formal assessment. However, often the person responsible for ensuring safety is unable to convince those who control expenditure. This is where formalising a risk assessment is particularly useful.
In one example we were involved with several years ago, the only way that management could be caused to understand the risk was by production of a filmed enactment shown at a management meeting. Rectifying measures were immediate and the film confiscated.
With matrices, a meeting is held to establish rectifying measures. With HAZOPs and LOPAs, rectifying measures are discussed, agreed and noted by the facilitator as part of the process. Reaching agreement to reduce quantified risk may take some time and may involve discussions with outside agencies such as WorkSafe, WorkCover or ComCare.
Please therefore, consider asking I F Thomas & Associates to advise which risk assessment method suits you and then to conduct it for you.
SEE ALSO PAGE 4 OF OUR BULLETIN and below.