Aside from that, the other thing that you may want to consider – is not letting a review of your assessment lapse too long – and certainly if everything remained the same, you wouldn’t want to be letting risk assessments get older than a few years.
There is some guidance that came out of the UK which suggested that risk assessments be reviewed annually. The industry needs to adopt that continuous improvement perspective to improve conditions and minimise risk.
Can the monitoring and review process can be conducted, in-house? If so, what would some best practices be?
Many risk assessment reviews that can be done in house. The key thing to consider here is competency. Do you have suitably competent people to be reviewing the risk assessment? If you take machine risk assessments for example, they can be highly complex, and require specialist’s knowledge and experience. If you don’t have that competency and those experienced individuals within your organisation, you can’t do that risk assessment review in-house. The other thing would be to ensure that you’ve got adequate, independent, and a fresh set of eyes carrying out that risk assessment review process.
This means that people are going to be looking at it, fully objectively, with all of the relevant inputs and information, this limits complacency and removes unconscious bias, that may relate to an acceptance of certain standards within your working environment.
The key things to ensure are competency, independence, and a fresh set of eyes. If that can be met, then certainly there’s no reason why that couldn’t be done in-house. For larger organisations it is possible, but for medium sized organisations, performing reviews can be more challenging.
From a liability perspective, are there any benefits from conducting a risk assessment externally or with a third party?
I think if you use external third party providers, assuming they are competent, they are going be looking at things objectively, and identifying hazards and risks that your own internal people might not pick up on.
If that’s the case, and suitable control measures are put in place, then that will reduce the likelihood of injury, which is going to reduce the risk of harm. It’s going to reduce the risk of liability. It’s going to reduce the risk of the bad publicity, and the risk of prosecution. Having a competent, external third party is likely to identify more hazards and risks, including the optimum controls to be put in place. That’s one of the key benefits of using an external party.
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