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5 Benefits of Task-based Risk Assessment

01 Feb 2018

Risk assessment is a fundamental health and safety requirement in any type of organisation. When it comes to the manufacturing and engineering industries though, the value of task-based risk assessment goes beyond meeting legal requirements and keeping workers safe. Here are five reasons to include task-based risk assessment in your organisation’s core training programme.

1. It’s good practice

Task-based risk assessment forces the assessor to understand each step involved in a work-based task or process, and to examine all aspects of the activity being assessed, such as:

  • the task itself
  • the environment in which it takes place
  • the people that the task affects
  • the maintenance requirements of the equipment and plant involved.

This systematic exploration of an activity is both proactive and thorough. It give the assessor an understanding of the risks involved in any given task, and of how wider organisational systems and processes impact on that task.

2. It’s inclusive

It’s impossible to conduct task-based risk assessment without directly involving the employees that carry out the task in question. This brings a number of benefits:

a) Tests if your policies and processes translate directly in practice. Assessing a task allows you to see exactly how it is carried out on the ground. Employees that perform the task can give valuable insight into why written procedures might not be practical or safe in reality. Where unsafe working practices have become the norm, the assessor has the opportunity to discuss with workers which alterative safe methods could work in practice.

b) Encourages employee buy-in. When employees feel consulted, they generally feel more motivated to engage. Staff that have contributed to a risk assessment process are far more likely to adhere to the assessments recommendations.

c) Encourages a positive reporting culture. Employees are morel likely to report potential risks if their observations are acted upon, and they feel that they are contributing to wider organisational goals.

3. It highlights quality and operational issues

Because task-based risk assessment looks into whole processes, it can identify wider quality and operational issues within your organisation. Involving your quality or continuous improvement managers in the task-based risk assessment process can help to meet wider strategic aims and improve communication across functions.

4. It reduces costs

Once embedded within your organisation, task-based risk assessment, and an associated training programme, can help reduce health and safety costs by:

  • proactively identifying and preventing risks
  • improving working practices
  • reducing insurance premiums and litigation fines — providing evidence of your task-based risk assessment training programme and practices can increase eligibility for premium discounts and leaner fines in the event of a compensation claim.

5. It drives continuous improvement

Task-based risk assessment requires that you review risk whenever there is a significant change to the task (equipment, personnel, environment, materials used, etc.). This approach to risk management demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement in your health and safety practices. This is not only good practice in itself, but also meets the criteria for standards such as OHSAS18001, the new ISO45001, and ISO9001: 2015.

Are you ready to train your team?

NDC is the only provider of the IOSH approved Task-based Risk Assessment training course. Our 5-day course offers the knowledge, skills and practical application of task-based risk assessments for:

  • general risks
  • CoSHH
  • display screen equipment (DSE)
  • manual handling operations
  • work at height.

We deliver the course on your premises so that delegates have the opportunity to practice risk assessment techniques in their working environment. This is an assessed course — successful delegates receive an IOSH-approved Task-based Risk Assessment certificate upon completion. All course participants receive a workbook to help them put their learning into practice after the course.

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