Risk assessment is a series of logical steps to permit analysis and evaluation of risks associated with machinery.
Where necessary, this is followed by risk reduction. It may be necessary to repeat the process to eliminate hazards as far as practicable and to adequately reduce risk by implementation of protective measures.
How does it work?
The following steps can be identified:
- Determination of the limits of the machinery. Essentially, this part of the process is about setting boundaries to the risk analysis process. It includes both the intended use and reasonably foreseeable misuse of the gate. Limits on use would include what operating modes are available and who is likely to use and/or come into contact with the gate, their physical abilities, their level of knowledge, etc. Space limits would include the range of movement, location of controls and space required for maintenance. Limits on time would include the life times of components and recommended service intervals. Environmental limits could include whether the gate is expected to operate in extreme weather conditions.
- Hazard Identification. This includes the systematic identification of reasonably foreseeable hazards which could arise at any stage of the gate’s life, including while it is being commissioned, used, maintained, or dismantled. Many of these hazards are mentioned below (under “Standards”), but this cannot be regarded as a comprehensive list.
- Risk estimation. The risk associated with each hazard will depend on the severity of the harm caused and how likely it is that harm will be caused. The likelihood, in turn, depends on exposure of people to the hazard, the probability of the hazardous event and the possibility that the harm can be avoided or limited.
This process must be carried out to determine whether risk reduction is required. If the need for risk reduction is identified, then, once the necessary measures have been taken, the process of risk analysis and evaluation should be repeated to ensure that no further risk reduction is required.
Satisfactory risk reduction requires that, in order of preference:
- a) The hazard has been eliminated or the risk reduced by design;
- b) The risk has been reduced by the application of safeguarding measures (see below for examples);
- c) When (a) or (b) are not practicable, adequate warning of any remaining risk and instructions required to control it has been given to users;
- d) The application of mitigation measures e.g. means by which persons may be released from the hazard quickly and safely.