Work is a place where a lot of time is spent, so it is important to be safe there. Both the employer and the employee should anticipate possible risks, but it is the employer who has the greatest responsibility for what happens in his company.
The third chapter of the Norwegian Labour Code (Arbeidsmiljøloven) sets out the requirements for safety at work in detail. An example is § 4-3, which states that physical conditions at work, such as lighting or temperature, should be at such a level that they do not endanger the employee's health. Another example is § 4-4, which notes that any equipment and machinery used at work, must have adequate safeguards.
An occupational risk assessment is used to detect hazards in the workplace. The more the employer is aware of them, the more he can do to improve worker safety in his company.
Each industry has its own specific characteristics and therefore different risk factors. The same is true for companies. Each is different, each has its own characteristics that are specific only to it. Therefore, in order to assess a company's occupational risk well, it must be approached on an individual basis.
First: Analysis of the company's current state
The owner of a Norwegian company should consider what risks may affect an employee in his or her company. It is also a good idea to visit all premises, look at them carefully and take notes. The employees themselves can provide valuable information. They are the ones working in the premises, so they can see more. To assess the risks in the workplace more accurately, the employer should consult the manuals of the equipment and machines that are there. It is important to consider what illnesses may be associated with a particular place or workplace. It may be important to check what injuries or accidents have already occurred in the company.
Places where an injury or accident may occur should be clearly marked and dangerous substances well described.
Secondly: Analyse the frequency of occurrence of risks and their severity.
The Norwegian entrepreneur should look back to the past and recall how often accidents have occurred in his company. On this basis, he can assess whether a situation is likely to happen again and whether everything has been done to prevent it in the future.
A certain risk classification can also be created for this purpose:
- very often (e.g. once a week),
- frequently (e.g. several times a year),
- rarely (e.g. once every 2 years),
- never (not likely to happen).
This classification will allow the Norwegian entrepreneur to take preventive action quickly in those areas that are most at risk.
In addition to the risk assessment of the workplace, it is also necessary to look at the people who work there. This is to verify which employees may be at risk. Are they individuals or groups of individuals? Which occupations are affected by the risk? Could the risk also affect people living in areas close to the establishment?
This is where a different risk classification can be helpful:
Third: Prevention of risks
- Low risk - when the consequences of an incident are only bruises, minor abrasions or lacerations.
- Intermediate risk - when the consequences are more serious, e.g. damage to property or injury.
- High risk - when the consequences are, for example, fractures, loss of consciousness or very costly damage to property.
- Catastrophic risk - when the consequences are death or disability.
Once the company has analysed the risks, it is important to think about the prevention of possible incidents. Knowing what has already been done in the past, the owner of a Norwegian company needs to think about what else he can do to improve the safety of his employees and the security of property.
Fourth: Evaluating the effectiveness of the changes implemented
A Norwegian entrepreneur, aware of the risks and making appropriate changes to improve safety in his/her company, should constantly monitor the situation.
This means revisiting the above steps from time to time , thus analysing the present and the past and answering the question: is what has been done so far sufficient? Can something else be done? It is important to prioritise.
The following groups of factors should be considered when prioritising:
- the most hazardous to the worker,
- the most frequent,
- those that pose a threat to the worker's health,
- those that pose a threat to the company's property.
The entrepreneur should determine how often he/she will carry out a risk assessment in his/her company and stick to the deadlines set. After the next assessment, changes should be made accordingly. It may help to ask yourself the following questions:
HAZARD SOURCE MATRIX - GROVMATRISE
- Has everything that was planned to improve safety in the company been done?
- Did these measures have the desired effect?
- Could anything else have been done?
- Has anything changed since the last assessment?
In the horizontal boxes of the Hazard Source Matrix, the sources of the hazards are entered. In the vertical boxes, the stage of occurrence, construction, site or function is entered. We then mark the hazards as follows:
RISK ASSESSMENT DIAGRAM - RISIKODIAGRAM
- the letter X indicates those sources which, in combination with the stage of occurrence, construction, site or function, are relevant to the risk,
- the letter O indicates those sources which, in combination with the stage of occurrence, construction, site or function, could be relevant for the risk.
The risk assessment diagram is used to determine which action to take at the earliest.
The vertical boxes indicate probabilities, while the horizontal boxes indicate consequences. Every so often (e.g. every 5 years), one needs to establish for oneself what is meant by low, medium and high probability and assign a level of risk according to the facts. The probability level is then added to the consequence level.
Probability can be:
Large = 3
Averages = 2
Small = 1
The consequence could be:
Large = 3
Averages = 2
Small = 1
Average probability + Average consequence = 2+2 = 4.
RISK ANALYSIS SHEET - ANALYSEKJEMA
The hazard analysis sheet is drawn up on the basis of the Hazard Source Matrix (Grovmatrise) and the Risk Assessment Diagram (Risikodiagram). The source of risk is identified by looking at the number in the horizontal and vertical boxes of the Hazard Source Matrix, e.g. 1.3 (first horizontal box and third vertical box). Then look at the probability of that risk occurring and what the consequences might be (high, medium or low).
The risk analysis can start from point:
A - harm to people,
B - damage to the environment,
C - material/economic damage.
ACTION PLAN - HANDLINGSPLAN
The next step is to fill in the action plan sheet (Handlingsplan).
The next risk assessment will show whether all measures have been carried out and whether they have had the intended effect. You should check whether those risks that were marked as low in the previous assessment have become more dangerous. It is also necessary to consider whether any new risks have arisen since the last assessment.
Internal audits - Internkontroll
An internal protocol (Internkontroll) is a document that provides a valuable source of information on risks in the company. It can be drawn up in-house or an external company can be used, which is not a big problem in Norway. This is undoubtedly a considerable cost, but well worth it, especially if there are a large number of risks in the company. Internkontroll helps the employer to plan and take action to improve safety in the enterprise.
At the end of the course, each participant has the opportunity to download the Internkontroll printout and other necessary materials.