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Conducting the assessment at the workplace

The hazard, risk and workload factors arising from the working environment and working conditions must be systematically analysed at the workplace. If the risks cannot be eliminated completely, their impact on the health and safety of employees must be assessed and measures must be taken to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.

The decision to carry out a risk assessment is made by the organisation’s management. The commitment of management is needed to secure sufficient resources, to make decisions on the measures to be taken on the basis of the assessment and for monitoring to ensure the continuity of the assessment.

Planning the assessment

The employer is responsible for carrying out the assessment. A steering group may be set up to conduct a comprehensive hazard analysis, with the task of initiating, organising and supporting the progress of the process. The occupational safety and health committee, with sufficient expertise to support it, can act as the steering group.

Particular attention must be paid to involving, motivating and informing employees. The goal is for everyone to understand that the process aims to ensure occupational safety and promotes well-being and coping at work for everyone. The method can be chosen according to the circumstances. A leader is appointed for the steering group, who will act as a liaison between the group and staff and management.

It is recommended that each employee strives to identify the hazard, risk and workload factors involved in their work in all the places where they work and in the tasks that they perform. Participation in the assessment trains the employee to observe and prepare for potential hazards in the working environment.

Expert advice and a more detailed assessment are used to assess specific risks, such as chemical agents or risks related to machinery safety.

The expertise of occupational health care should be utilised particularly when assessing the impact of health risks related to occupational hygiene and stress and when processing measures.

Selecting objects of assessment

The object of assessment to be examined at a time must be a clearly defined and manageable entity based, for example, on the responsibilities of the supervisors. When selecting the object, it is also advisable to consider which types of entities need to be included in the assessment report.

Identifying hazards and risks

The hazard, risk and workload factors are identified by analysing the work carried out at the site being assessed, by observing the performance of the work and by interviewing and involving employees. Checklists provide a more systematic approach to the identification of hazards and risks.

In addition to normal operations, abnormal situations, such as maintenance and repair work, holiday periods, shifts and the use of substitutes and trainees, must be taken into account in the identification of hazards.

Determining the magnitude and significance of a risk

The magnitude of a risk consists of the likelihood of the hazard occurring and the severity of the health and safety harms caused by the hazard. 

The severity of the consequences determined on the basis of:

Factors affecting the likelihood of an incident:

Significance of the risk

Determining the significance of a risk means assessing whether the risk is at an acceptable level or whether measures should be taken to reduce it. At the same time, the order of importance of the necessary measures is assessed.

Risk management measures

Risk reduction measures are assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

Monitoring and reporting

Transparent communication and reporting on the implementation of the risk assessment and the measures taken on the basis of it are important in order to ensure that all employees commit to the development of a safe and healthy workplace.

Management and supervisors need reports on the basis of which they can monitor the development of occupational safety and well-being at work.

When monitoring the risk assessment, it is important to assess the magnitude of the risks that have been addressed with the measures and to ensure that the measures have achieved the intended impact.

The information obtained from the risk assessment is used in the following areas:

Continuous safety observations

Risk assessment is a continuous activity. Risk assessment is needed in connection with changes such as the expansion of operations, changes in the nature of operations, organisational restructuring, renovation of premises or changes in staff. 

In addition to regular comprehensive hazard identification at the workplace, it is important to have a procedure in place for day-to-day safety observations and incident reports.