Safety risk assessments are a critical step in identifying and quantifying risk related to hazardous events. Once the assessment is complete, stakeholders can plan, assess and mitigate their risk levels through designing out hazards or ensuring that the system can reach a safe state before exposing people to harm. Risk assessments are preceded by a systematic examination of equipment, environment, and process to ensure that every hazardous event is considered.
The top-down analysis identifies workplace hazards, human risk, determines the severity of each threat and outlines control measures to eliminate or reduce the risk. When performing a risk assessment, it’s important to understand the purpose of the machine through use cases to identify how the equipment can be mishandled.
The Hedgehog approach to performing a risk assessment is as follows:
- Facilitate team creation and onboarding
- Identifying hazards
- Collecting data and qualifying the risks
- Determining how to reduce or remove the potential hazards
- Replacing or designing out the risk
- Reassessing the new level of risk after control measures are in place
Safety risk assessments are best completed at the beginning of a new project but can also be conducted on legacy machines which are upgraded, replaced, or relocated to a new facility.