As a small business owner you may be unsure if you are required to conduct a risk assessment in your place or places of work.
Risk Assessment and managing risk is a part of the legislative requirement for all Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU).
It applies to ALL business regardless of size – that is small, medium, large, sole traders and multi-national multi-billion dollar companies – everyone.
Conducting risk assessments that encompass your entire business operations can be a daunting, complicated, complex and time consuming task. Big Yellow Safety has the experience required to help you assess your business risks and work with you to identify the controls you have in place already, document them and then look to identify areas of improvement that would allow you to satisfy the legislative requirements.
The image to the right is a representation of the processes required to manage risk effectively as a business (reference the Model Code of Practice: How to manage WHS risks).
Some key points to take from this image are that managing risk is something that never stops, it is cyclic in nature and is a forever changing cycle that is required to be monitored for its effectiveness. Simply conducting a risk assessment once is not enough. Also note the outer circle with ‘consultation’ highlighted. This is representative that at all stages of the risk management process consultation with workers is required.
Risk management process
The first step is to identify hazards –
Identifying hazards in the workplace involves finding things and situations that could potentially cause harm to people, property, the environment, or reputation and commercial aspects of your business.
The second step is to assess the risk –
A risk assessment involves considering what could happen if someone is exposed to a hazard and the likelihood of it happening. A risk assessment can help you, as a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), to determine:
- how severe a risk is;
- whether any existing control measures are effective;
- what action you should take to control the risk; and
- how urgently the action needs to be taken.
The third step is to identify and implement controls –
The most important step in managing risks involves eliminating them so far as is reasonably practicable, or if it’s not reasonably practicable, minimising the risks so far as is reasonably practicable. There are many ways to control risks. Some control measures are more effective than others. You must consider various control options and choose the control that most effectively eliminates the hazard or minimises the risk in the circumstances. This may involve a single control measure or a combination of different controls that together provide the highest level of protection that is reasonably practicable.
Some problems can be fixed easily and should be done straight away, while others will need more effort and planning to resolve. Of those requiring more effort, you should prioritise areas for action, focusing first on those hazards with the highest level of risk.
The fourth step is to review the controls –
The control measures you put in place as a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) should be reviewed regularly to make sure they work as planned. Don’t wait until something goes wrong. Managing work health and safety risks is an ongoing process that needs attention over time. Periodic scheduled reviews as well as in certain circumstances where change has occurred will prompt the requirement for a review.
The Model Code of Practice: How to manage work health and safety risks is a great resource to draw on though if you are seeking some help to assess your business then don’t hesitate for one moment longer. The longer you delay addressing risk management the greater your risk exposure is.
Contact us to arrange a free initial consultation about how we can help you with a risk assessment and a risk management system, or give us a call on 07 5655 4047 for more info. Our safety services cover Gold Coast, Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Brisbane, Darling Downs, and Granite Belt areas.