How do you assess risk in the work place?

By Safe Ag Systems on
21 February 2023

What is a risk assessment?

In farming we know there are a lot of risks every day due to various tasks including working with chemicals, handling livestock, confined spaces, access to machinery and equipment, the environment, heights and so much more. Making your farm a safer workplace can require a proactive approach and risk assessments could be the perfect tool in your kit to help get the job done.

As part of your risk management process, you will need to assess the risks in the workplace. This can be done through regular walks around your property, workers on the ground, or hiring a professional to assist. A risk assessment allows you to systematically identify hazards, evaluate the risks and implement control measures that remove or reduce the risk. As mentioned above these risks could be associated with machinery and equipment, the job itself, or environmental factors like noise or temperature.

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For agribusinesses that do not have control measures in place, it can become a costly lesson. Failing to control a risk cannot not only result in fines and prosecution, but it can also impact production time, resulting in damage to machinery, tools and equipment as well as a damaged reputation. And that’s on top of the human factors of something going wrong. At the beginning, it can seem time-consuming to do risk assessments, but time invested upfront will have a positive effect on reducing the chance of incidents in the workplace in the future.

To learn more about Risk Assessments for your business, see our blog at Safe Ag Systems.

How to do a health and safety risk assessment

A risk assessment should always be completed before someone starts a new task, any new activity or operates a new piece of machinery or equipment. A risk assessment is not a set-and-forget notion. They should be reviewed based on a number of contributing factors with the frequency determined by the level of risk involved. If you have introduced any changes to an activity or task, your assessment may no longer be valid. You will also need to review a risk assessment following any incidents or injuries that occur on farm.

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The team at Safe Ag Systems suggests tackling Risk Assessments on farm with four steps.

  1. Identify the hazards in your workplace.
  2. Determine what harm the hazard could cause and who in your workplace is at risk?
  3. Evaluate, assess and/or implement controls. Define the inherent risks using likelihood and consequence and then reassess once you have implemented your controls to determine your residual risk.
  4. Record, review and update

Inherent risk is the level of risk with no new controls in place to mitigate harm. It factors in any existing controls. Residual risk is the level of risk remaining with existing and/or new controls in place.

It is a business’ responsibility to ensure risk assessments are completed. They can either take on the responsibility within the business or employ a health and safety consultant to act on their behalf.

To learn more about Risk Assessments, visit our page at Safe Ag Systems.

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