Would you like a bit of help with your end of course risk assessment project? Then welcome to our little post about the V5.0 IOSH Managing Safely Project.
One of the biggest changes with this new project is that delegates are no longer required to identify whether a hazard is caused by the nature of it’s location, equipment, substance or the way in which it is done (activity). In terms of assessing people’s risk assessment skills, doing so had its uses but in completing real world risk assessments this exercise could only create confusion.
If you need a copy of the V5.0 risk assessment form you can find it through this link. scroll half way down the page to “pdf.Format“, click through the link and you will open a writable pdf version of the form. If you find that you cannot type into the form it is because of the application that you are using to read the form. You don’t have to use IOSH’s form for this, you can use your own companies risk assessment form. Given that each cell within the main body of the IOSH form attracts points, if you hope to gain sufficient points for certification, you should ensure that the form that your employer uses gives you the opportunity to attract all of the points available.
There are 38 points available in the project. In order to gain certification you will need to score a minimum of 23. You should be aware that if you score the minimum mark on both the end of course assessment and on the project, you will not have scored enough points overall.
Let’s start at the top. There is a point for completing the 3 rows across the top of the form. Just 1 point? They can’t be very important then can they? Except, think on, if in the cell where it asks for the “Name of assessor” you put something other than your name, to whom should they issue a certificate? If you fail to describe what is being assessed and in what kind of place, then how can the marker of your project have any understanding of your work? A failure to provide appropriate information here could cause problems for you.
Throughout the main body of the form we are expected to assess a total of 4 hazards, 1 per row. The information that you need in order to complete the form should have been delivered during your course. It is also in your delegate workbook.
I’m sure that you recall from your course that a hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm. You will need to be a little bit descriptive here. Given that anything could be a hazard but, lucky for us, not everything is a hazard all of the time, we will need to identify why it is a hazard e.g. “carpet” does not describe a hazard. “raised carpet” does. “Computer display screen” does not describe a hazard”. “Looking at a computer screen for 8 hours per day without sufficient breaks” does.
During the course you will have discussed the type of people that can be affected by our hazards – employees, visitors, members of the public, our contractors, trespassers etc. People normally do quite well at identifying these people. You may recall from your course that it was also pointed out that the more people we expose to our hazards, the more likely it is that the hazard will be realised. The point was also made that the more people that we expose to our hazards, the more effort we should apply to controlling the associated risks. It is important then that when we do a risk assessment we identify not just the type of people that are exposed to our hazards but the number of each group of people too.
It can be a good idea to base your IOSH Managing Safely project on your workplace or at least a place that you are familiar with. One problem that some people might encounter with this approach is that the kind of organisation that tends to invest in their employees (providing this training etc.) also tend to control their hazards quite effectively. This can make it difficult to identify situations that require improvement, yet for the sake of this project we must identify such situations. Well, if you’re confronted with this dilemma you might just un-invent an existing control in order to create a hazardous situation for the purposes of this assessment. If this means that there are no existing risk controls that’s fine, just state that in your project.
The risk rating part of the IOSH Managing Safely project is difficult to get wrong because it is so subjective. You should have been given a copy of the evaluation page of the assessment. It has the 5×5 risk matrix on it, along with what action must be taken at what risk rating levels. If you have used your own organisation’s risk assessment form you will also need to provide a copy of your organisation’s risk rating and evaluation procedure. Marks are sometimes lost here because people describe a hazard whereby people are working 5 meters up. They go on to describe how they might fall 5 meters down. They then go on to indicate a consequence of 2. It is apparent to most people that falling 5 meters would probably result in something more than a minor injury (except in certain circumstances, in which case those circumstances should be a part of the hazard’s description). Bad maths is another problem here. Take care.
In identifying your additional controls you have a number of things to consider. You should apply the hierarchy of risk control but you need to balance this with what you have learned about reasonable practicability too. You will also need an understanding of the situation that you are assessing i.e. the need for some controls is identified in law. You do not always have the option to select a lesser control.
Rating the residual risk is, like the first risk rating that we did, very subjective but calculating residual risk presents another pitfall. You will need to accurately identify which element of the risk rating your control reduces, the likelihood or the consequence. If we have someone working on a 3 story building from a ladder and we give him a fall arrest harness what have we reduced? The worker is just as likely to fall but the harness would prevent them from reaching the floor. The harness reduces the consequence. If we took that same person off his ladder and gave him a cherry picker for the same task we will reduce the likelihood. The handrail on the cherry picker would make it more difficult to fall but if he did fall (the same distance) it would hurt just as much. How about if this person was cleaning windows and what we did was to remove his height access/work at height equipment and instead we give him a pole with a hosepipe through the middle and a brush on the end? We have reduced the likelihood of a fall to zero, if he’s not up there he cannot fall down from there. If the control that you describe eliminates the risk the “R” rating must be “0”.
For the Purpose of your IOSH Managing Safely project you can delegate pretty much any appropriate person as being responsible for taking action and monitoring your new controls etc. Don’t identify people by name, identify them by appointment such as production manager, accounts department head etc.
Think about how long it might reasonably take to implement your recommendations. This will help you to identify an appropriate date for the last cell in each row. If your control incurs a significant cost (Time, Inconvenience, Money or Effort) it might take some time to implement. If, for example, you recommend turning a computer screen so that it doesn’t face a window in order to prevent reflection, you might achieve this in a very short time.
That now takes us from the main body of the form to the 2 cells at the end. There are points for these. Most of this is self explanatory but it is worth giving the review date some consideration. You should have just recommended 4 or more risk controls, which will (if you’ve got it right) have changed the risks that you have assessed. You may recall from your course that when things change we need to review our assessments. Consider the action date that you have specified for your controls. Is there any point in reviewing the situation before the controls have been implemented? Possibly not. Some companies review their risk assessments annually but you should now know that this shouldn’t be a default. Given that, don’t specify a date for review that is 12 months after your initial risk assessment when the longest it has taken to implement any of your controls is a month.
I reckon that should cover it. You should now have all the information that you need for the completion of your IOSH Managing Safely project. If you undertook your IOSH Managing Safely training with Lynwood and reading this leaves you with questions then you have the opportunity to contact your trainer direct. They will answer all of your questions and they will do all that they can to help. If you did your training with any other provider you will need to ask them what help they provide for your IOSH Managing Safely project. If you haven’t yet completed your IOSH training and you want to be given all of the answers, not just for the project but for the end of course assessment too, then you need to take a look at this.
If you have spotted any errors or areas for improvement in this little guide on the IOSH Managing Safely project then please let me know (the email address is in the footer), we would very much appreciate your positive input.
Wherever you did your training – good luck with your IOSH Managing Safely project.