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Risk Assessment – Identifying Risks and Taking Preventive Measures

Risk Assessment

A risk assessment involves looking for hazards, determining their risks based on their likelihood of harm and the severity of injury or ill health, and taking preventive measures to reduce those risks. It is a legal requirement in many countries.

You can identify risks by using a decision tree and asking workers for feedback in one-on-one interviews or group meetings. Also, you can look back at accident and incident reports.

1. Observation

Observation involves watching, listening to and recording behaviors and characteristics of phenomena. It can be unstructured or structured, covert or non-covert. Unstructured observation doesn’t involve the researcher being present, but it can include indirect data (such as using a stopwatch to measure how long it takes different demographics to walk a certain distance). Structured observation involves specific variables and a pre-determined schedule.

Often, a company’s employees can provide valuable insight on risks that they face in their day-to-day work. Employees may have specific knowledge of risks that exist in their workplace, such as those related to excavation safety or a particular piece of equipment. They also can draw from the experiences of other employees in similar industries. This can be done through one-on-one conversations, group discussions or surveys.

While this is a useful approach, it can be difficult to ensure meaningful results. Observation can expose individuals to potential stigma and repercussions if they are aware of their participation in research, so it is important to ensure that participants are fully informed of the benefits, risks, responsibilities and medicolegal implications of participating in an observational study.

2. Interviews

A professional organization that specializes in risk management can provide expertise on the typical risks faced by organizations similar to yours. They can also help identify unique risks that you may face. They can access industry research and trend reports that highlight the most common issues, and they can look into legal precedents.

Interviews are a useful tool for gathering information about the potential risks of a project. They can be conducted on a one-on-one basis or with groups of people, depending on your research design and the type of information you need to gather. However, it is important to avoid revealing too much information in an interview because it can make respondents defensive and lead to stereotyped answers.

Interviews can be valuable tools for identifying risks in all areas of your business. They get different parts of the company thinking about issues that they might not have considered before, and they can also encourage cross-team collaboration and communication.

3. Surveys

Survey research involves the in-depth sampling of an individual population with various question types and data collection techniques. The results provide empirical data and help researchers understand the behavior of a population of individuals. There are two distinct groups of professionals in this area; one focuses on survey errors, the other tries to design and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of surveys.

Risk identification requires more than simply identifying the symptoms; it must also identify their root causes. This process can be assisted by methods such as Pareto diagrams, SWOT analysis and other statistical ways to organize and analyze raw data.

The survey questionnaire itself must be carefully written to be clear and concise, produce relevant results and not contain ‘leading questions.’ It must also be carefully tested using qualitative and/or quantitative research methods, such as focus groups, cognitive interviews or pretesting (usually with an online opt-in sample). There are many different methods for collecting survey responses, but email is often the easiest and most cost effective.

4. Research

There are many methods that can help with risk identification. One of the most important is identifying root causes. This is not always easy. In some cases, a risk assessment requires the services of outside disinterested reviewers. Nonetheless, project personnel should strive to identify risks and their causes.

Risks can be identified through research, such as analyzing past incidents and losses, interviewing employees who worked on the project, and using a variety of information sources. Research can also reveal trends and common occurrences in a specific industry.

Another step in identifying risks is risk analysis, which involves listing potential risks and assessing their likelihood of occurring and impact on the project. This step enables the team to prioritize risks and take preventive measures. Risks are often documented in a risk register, which lays out the risks with information like priority levels and mitigation plans. Using this process can reduce the time it takes to implement a risk control plan.

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