Factors To Be Considered In Specific Risk Assessments

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Factors To Be Considered In Specific Risk Assessments

Examples of factors to be considered in specific risk assessments

Risk of a slip, trip or fall

Slips, trips, and falls are the second most common type of accident in most places of work. The risk depends on:

  • the premises being kept clean, tidy and uncluttered
  • the flooring and stairs being kept in good repair and on the type of flooring used
  • the control of other trip hazards
  • the quality of lighting
  • spillages of liquid being cleaned promptly

The extent of injury may vary from relatively minor to severe, depending on a variety of factors including the nature of the fall, whether at the level or from a height. 

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Risk of being struck by a fork-lift truck

Vehicles in the workplace are a risk to other employees on foot. The risk is a combination of the chance that someone will be struck, together with the likely severity of the injury. This will depend on:

  • whether pedestrians use walkways which keep them away from moving fork-trucks
  • the number of pedestrians and fork-lift trucks using the same areas
  • the training and instruction provided to both drivers and pedestrians
  • the degree of supervision and enforcement of safe procedures (e.g. for separating pedestrians and forklifts)
  • the mechanical condition of the fork-lift truck (e.g. brakes and flashing beacons)
  • the wearing of high-visibility PPE

The extent of the injury is likely to be severe and may result in death or disability.

Isocyanate paint risk assessment

Paints containing isocyanates are a hazard to health. The material safety data sheet and the label on the paint container give this information. Breathing in isocyanate fumes can cause asthma. The risk is a combination of the chance that someone’s lungs will be damaged together with the extent of the likely damage. This will depend on:

  • the amount of isocyanate in the air
  • how often the job is done (all day every day or once or twice a year)
  • the work method – how the paint is used (e.g. if it is sprayed the risk will be greater than if brushed on)
  • the number of people that could be affected. (Does just one person work with the paint or do many? Could their work affect others?)
  • what could go wrong (the errors that could lead to spillage and atmospheric emissions)
  • the adequacy of precautions taken, such as exhaust ventilation and personal protective equipment. (Do they comply with the legal requirements? How do they compare with good practice and national or ‘trade’ guidance?)

The extent of the likely damage is severe. An employee could develop asthma, which might make him or her unemployable in that industry.

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Permit-to-work systems

A permit-to-work system is a written system of the procedures which must be taken to safeguard workers doing work such as repair, maintenance or cleaning work in potentially dangerous areas. It involves mechanical, electrical or process isolation procedures or monitoring the atmosphere for the presence of dangerous fumes. It sets out in a systematic way the work to be done, the hazards involved and the precautions to be taken.

Situations where this is necessary include when machinery could be restarted with the worker still inside it, or working in confined spaces where there is a danger of chemical or physical contamination.

The employer should write down in the safety statement what work activities require a permit-to-work system. Employers may also need to consider the Confined Space Regulations and associated code of practice.

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