Risk assessment

Safemech has a lot of experience of making risk assessments for machinery and work equipment. We have a developed a system and template which we find works well for most industrial equipment.
We often find that because of our experience, we can make excellent risk assessments in a fraction of the time taken by a company's own employees with  considerable consequent savings.

Risk assessmentA Risk Assessment is a formal analysis of the hazards presented by a machine and the risks that those hazards present. It identifies measures required or used to reduce the risks to acceptable levels. Risks can be prioritised for action.

European standard EN12100:2010 Risk Assessment and Reduction defines the general principles to be used in risk assessment. It provides a useful framework and context within which risk assessments can be made.

An important part of risk assessment which is often neglected is placing the use of the equipment "in context". It is very important that intended users, environment in which the equipment will be used, intended service life etc, are considered and documented.

There are many different systems used for risk assessment but all essentially involve indentifying hazards and then scoring the level of risk which they present. If the risk score is too high, then measures must be taken to reduce the risk. The ideal, is to design the hazard right out in the first place, but if this is not possible, guarding or other physical measures will be required. If guarding is not possible, PPE or warning signs could be used, but these are a last resort.

Failure Mode Effect Analysis FMEA (bottom up) or Fault Tree Analysis FTA (top down) are useful tools in conjunction with a risk analysis to identify potential causes of problems. 

In the UK, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 give you a mandatory duty to carry out risk assessments for all work equipment and processes.

for a Free Risk Assessment Template for Machinery!

Frequently asked Questions

Q. When in my design process should I make a risk assessment?
A. Risk assessment should ideally be a continuous and interative process starting at an early stage of design and continuing through final design, build and use of the equipment. Sadly, it is often only formally considered once a machine has been put into service. By then it may be too late. Modifications which could have been easily implemented at the design stage may now need to be retrofitted a great inconvenience and expense.

Q. Is risk assessment only important for machine designers?
A. No. Risk assessment is very important for machine users as well. You have a duty under MHSWR to make regular risk assessments. Even if the manufacturer of the equipment has made a competent risk assessment, the way in which you are using it may create new hazards. Risk assessment is an important tool for you to show that you can considered workplace safety and to prioritise improvements.

Q. What is the right way to make a risk assessment?
A. There is no one "right" way to make a risk assessment. Different techniques may suit different products. EN standard EN12100:2010 defines broad principles. We have developed a system which we find works well for most equipment.


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