• Chris Docherty

Examples of Risk Assessment - Working at Heights and Workshop Activities

This video is a short series. You may wish to look at the previous 2 recordings associated to the introduction of risk assessment and the 5 steps, before you watch this one.


For this blog, we recommend watching the video below as Chris runs through an example of a risk assessment.


I'm just going to walk through a couple of examples to show you what a risk assessment would look like. As I've said before, there are multitude of methodologies, and these are just a couple of examples.


Working at Heights

For the example seen in the video, we have just taken some small areas associated to working at heights.


In the case of this risk assessment, we have:

  • Looked at working at height,

  • Documented the risk assessment,

  • Recognised that it's an additional revision that we're working on.

  • Considered who the assessment was taken by, and who it was approved by.

  • Got a date, and a future review in place, in case there are not any other subsequent changes

  • Looked at who or what is at risk

  • Looked at the hazards

  • Looked at the rating associated to that in terms of the severity and the likelihood, multiplied to give us the risk rating

  • Looked at any control measures that we have or are putting in place

  • Looked at another risk rating based on the residual effect of those controls, so the new severity, the new likelihood multiplied to give us the risk.


It’s often common practice to use a colour code methodology aligned to your risk matrix, just to give you that quick guidance review, people can refer to covers on a much quicker way.


So, we've looked at and identified that a fall from height is a serious occurrence.

And we've identified a number of control measures which we have put in place, that people must follow in order to bring that risk level down.

It is important to point out at this point in time, that often the severity related to a hazard often does not reduce. So, if someone falls from height, if the severity rating is a five and very high, therefore there's a potential for a fatality or serious injury.


The possibility is that, our control measures put in place reduce the likelihood of that happening but there's a strong possibility that the severity, if it does happen, will still occur, and the severity of risk there will be at the same rating.


There are some risk assessments we would do, that the potential severity would go down because of the practices that we have in place. But it is important to recognise that in not all cases does the severity reduce, so we've added another couple of sections here around using mobile elevated work platforms, where again, we're referring to who or what is at risk, and we're seeing here that this could be the worker, an asset, or the potential of just other people walking by.


Again, there could be issues associated to someone falling if not proper controls in place, but there can also be the situation of dropped objects where the people at harm could be underneath the work at height.

There's training required and competence to assess these individuals using it. There's ensuring that the equipment itself is serviced and maintained and certified and it's important to ensure that pre-use checks are undertaken.


Lastly, it's important to recognise that there are other PPE type requirements when working on the mobile elevated work platform, as well as the control of any tools or additional items we take with us.


We could go on and show other additional information about working at height, including the use of ladders.


The simple methodology here is looking at

  • What is the task or activity, or the item being used?

  • Who or what is at risk?

  • What is the hazard itself?


Doing a risk rating, in terms of the severity and the likelihood multiplied to give us the risk. This is the risk associated to if no additional controls or no controls are in place.


Then we identify what controls we have, possibly adding more to it if needed.


It is possible, if we do not get a one off, we have to step back, maybe take guidance and advice from others to see what other additional control measures need to be put in place.

Workshop Activities

Another quick example shown in the video, using a slightly different methodology, is looking at a workshop activities.

Various activities could be deemed as a risk. It could simply just be moving around the workshop, it could be the housekeeping inside a workshop, it could be concerns associated to lighting or temperature, or third parties coming into the workshop.


Again, we look at:

  • Who and what could be at risk

  • What the hazards are, and what could happen

  • Slips and trips

  • Bringing in third parties that could potentially harm others, including themselves, assets or the environment.

  • Doing the risk rating (again it's the severity).

  • If it actually happens, how bad will it be?

  • The likelihood of it occurring


And we're multiplying that together to give us a risk rating. This is using your matrix, and the one we described before, was the 5 x 5 matrix. So, we can see, taking each axis and coming to a predefined, calculated point, and giving us a risk rating.

Beyond that we've got our control measures.


Those control measures may not always simply be the controls we have in place at the task in hand. They can be controls that are contributing factors, which occur earlier on in the process.


And if we take the control of third-party contractors, demonstrated here, this is a prime example of that. We have what we're saying are processes and procedures in place associated to the management of our suppliers.


So first of all, we want to ensure we understand the task they're going to be doing. We understand and get confidence that they are an appropriate supplier or third-party contractor to do that task, we may look for evidence to support that: -

  • We may ask for references,

  • we may go to a job that they've done and assess it, or just simply do an audit on them.

  • We may ask for additional information from them (such as competency assessment records associated to their employees, or risk assessments that they bring to our workplace).

It's also important that these are done dynamically, because we must recognise that there can be multiple activities happening at our workplace, and the risk assessment provided by the third party contractor may be around their activity in isolation and not understanding how it works when we have multiple operations happening at the same time.


Often it can be the task in hand, but there can be contributing factors that come from the methodology we use through our processes and procedures within our systems.

If you want to check out the first 2 videos in this series, you can do so below. We also have free resources on our website, where you can download risk assessment templates, processes and procedures. Check that out here.



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