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Potential hazards exist in ALL work activities and can lead to harm if we did not manage the risks properly.
A hazard is anything with the potential to cause harm (e.g. chemical)
A risk is the likelihood that a hazard will cause harm to someone
Harm is physical or mental damage (including damage to propery and equipment)
Therefore, it is important we manage them proactively through proper risk management before we start any work activities.
The following flowchart explains the steps on how to manage risks effectively at the workplace. The whole process is known as risk management (part of which involved devising the risk assessment (RA)). Please click here if you need further information on how each step is performed
A RA is a LEGAL document in Singapore and it is required for work activities with any foreseeable risks. RAs are also usually complemented by standard operating procedures (SOPs) or safe work procedures (SWPs), which are operating instructions on how to perform the work activity and additional safety precautions respectively. Certain work activities (e.g. using lifting equipment) will require SWPs as part of the risk management process.
An example of RA is shown in the figure below:
At NTU, RAs are conducted online using the Workplace Risk Assessment System (WRAS), which is a system designed to help you complete your RA. A RA is valid for 3 years after which, it must be reviewed and approved again.
However, if any of these occurs before the due date, the RA must be reviewed:
- Change in work flow / process (including scaling up of experiments)
- Accidents / incidents / near-misses
- Change of Person-in-Charge (PIC) / Approver
There are online courses available at NTULearn which allow you to better understand what a RA is and how to do them effectively. These following modules must be completed if you are part of a RA team in your group:
- OHS2RMI01: Risk Management: Introduction
- OHS2RMR01:Risk Management: Legal Requirements
- OHS2RMD01:Risk Management: Doing Risk Assessment
- OHS2RMC01:Risk Management: Risk Control Measures
In addition, the Office of Health, Safety and Emergency (OHSE) conducts workshop for risk management workshop (which allows you to practice how to write a RA). Please register via the Safety Training Management System (available via iNTU=>Learning and Development=>Safety Training Management System=>Apply Course=>Risk Management Workshop).
After going through the modules, you should be able to develop a RA for your work process effectively. However, some of the common misconceptions are listed below:
- Having generic separate RAs (e.g. use of ultrasonicator, use of acids as separate RAs) – for example if a work process (e.g. measurement of carbons in corals) involves the use ultrasonicator and acids, they should be listed in the same RA as the work process)
- Having severity and likelihood scores that do not match the hazards described in an effort to bring the risk prioritization number scores down
- Incomplete RA (e.g. missing several steps of the work process, referencing to other RA)
- Having control measures that are not reasonably practical
You can also download some of the RAs that are applicable for EOS / ASE by clicking here.
If you still have any further enquires on risk management or would like your RA to be reviewed by a 3rd party, please contact the Safety Officer, Alistair Ting at email@example.com.