RISKY BUSINESS - THE RISK ASSESSMENT PROCESS
Performing a risk analysis is a crucial step for machine safeguarding, and the first step in a risk assessment, as it identifies the machine hazards and their associated risks. Part of the analysis is understanding how the machine operates and the required interactions which takes place between personnel and the machine. This information will help in determining dangerous parts, areas and situations with the equipment, which is considered the hazard.
Next, the risk, which is the possibility and consequences of exposure to this hazard, can be documented. Part of the risk documentation is the calculation of a Hazard Rating Number or HRN. The HRN is used to quantify a risk so that it can be prioritized and so that a baseline is created. This baseline is used to estimate the effectiveness of control measures selected to remediate the identified risk.
An evaluation of the HRN is then performed to decide if further steps are needed to reduce the risk or not. The risk analysis and this evaluation of the HRN is the risk assessment process.
There are many different approaches and HRN parameters within the industry for guidance in the risk assessment procedure. The main goal is to make sure a methodology is selected or created which is effective for the machine(s) being assessed and that it is consistent throughout the company.
Risk assessment is one element involved in creating a machine safety mindset to provide a safe working environment and successful safety culture.