The importance of risk control measures
Risk control measures address risk factors that could potentially cause an incident or injury in the workplace. Risk control measures are a crucial tool to aid in the prevention of these identified accidents or injuries. They should form part of the workplace safety plan by providing a method to identify, control, mitigate and reduce risks. Risk control measures are ranked on a hierarchy scheme, implementing the most appropriate measure to match the risk level.
The risk measures hierarchy of control
The hierarchy ranks control measure from most effective to least.
- Elimination – remove the risk entirely
- Substitution – replace the risk with a safer alternative
- Engineering controls – isolating people away from the hazard
- Administrative controls – changing the way people work to make the risk safer
- PPE – workers cannot be removed from the hazard, so PPE is provided to protect workers further
Risk assessments are very important as they form an integral part of the safety management plan. They help to create awareness of hazards and risk.
The process of assessing the hazards on the work site is the most critical step to mitigate risks and determining the risk control measures.
The steps in developing a safety management plan include:
- the nature of the principal work site hazard
- how it relates to other threats at the workplace
- the analysis methods used in identifying the work site hazards
- a record of the risk assessment conducted concerning the work site hazards
- a description of all control measures to be implemented to manage risks associated with the principal work site hazards
- a description of the arrangements in place for providing to workers the information, training and instruction required about the main work site hazard
The safety management plan helps to identify the hazardous conditions and provide an opportunity to decrease the unknowns and improve the sequence of events through the implementation of control measures.
Develop and maintain a safety culture
A safety culture is viewed as a workplace’s perceptions, beliefs, values, and attitudes that creates a commitment to safety and an effort to minimise harm. A strong safety culture ensures that high standards are set for all safety processes.
In addition, implementing a positive safety culture promotes a sense of commitment to safety and helps encourage worker participation and accountability in workplace safety.
Thus, a culture of safety in the workplace goes beyond the understanding of safety procedures. The significance placed on safety and the degree to which workers take personal responsibility must be shared by everyone involved.
The steps to cultivate a culture of safety
Essentially, the key to establishing a safety culture is to:
- empower workers to do their job safely
- ensure safety information is user-friendly, understandable, up-to-date, and clearly communicated
- encourage positive collaboration to build trust and allow for workplace improvements
- management to lead by example as culture filters down from the top and
- invest money and time when implementing safety standards because this enables comprehensive training, assessments, and improvements
Appropriate personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) minimises exposure to various hazards. For examples standard PPE in mining includes gloves, steel-toed footwear, eye protection, protective hearing devices (earplugs, muffs), hard hats, respirators, overalls, and full bodysuits. Whilst PPE is the last line of defence on the hierarchy of controls and used in conjunction with other controls measures, it is essential as a risk control measure.
Hard hats are essential to keep workers safe to protect them from severe injuries: rockfall is a common cause of incidents. It is mandatory to put on your equipment before entering hazardous zones. Every workplace should define the PPE that is required for the activity and replace defective clothing immediately.
Equipment upkeep is essential in terms of control measures. Without regular maintenance, the neglected equipment will rapidly deteriorate as work environments can be harsh and so are many industries. This can also cause the malfunctioning of the equipment causing risk that can lead to loss of control, creating dangers occurrences. Following the manufacturer’s instructions on maintenance schedules is essential, as well as keeping the equipment clean and properly stored after use.
One important control measure is to inspect equipment regularly, replace essential parts when necessary and ensure regular lubrication to restore them to their former quality. The advantage of proper upkeep can increase equipment life, reducing the risk of injury to workers.
Implementing proper risk control measures
Increasing safety should be a top priority for all workplaces, as well as their workers. To increase safety, workplaces must consider all risks that can cause hazards in the workplace. The way to achieve this is through the risk assessment process and the development of a safety management plan.
The purpose of implementing control measures is to prevent or reduce the level of risk associated with a hazard or hazardous event to an acceptable level. This could be through activities such as regular maintenance, corrective actions or performing an operational response.
It is also important for workplaces to have a strong focus on building an effective safety culture that can allow both workers and management to work together to understand the relationship between risk and safety, determine then put control measure in place to mitigate risk. For example, mining is a high-risk industry, with accidents more prevalent than many other sectors, and require stringent safety management.
If you need assistance with isolating equipment as an effect risk control measure, get in touch with the safety isolation experts at Locksafe. Our Australian made products are manufactured from high grade stainless steel and made to suit any machinery type. Reach out to us on (08) 9455 7255 or enquire online.