2 Guidance on the department's Risk Management Methodology
The Department’s risk management methodology is represented in the steps below (please note, this is a simple representation of the risk management process from the International Standard ISO 31000:2009).
Step 1: Identify the hazards within the workplace
Step 2: Assess the risk (risk analysis/evaluation)
Step 3: Eliminate or control the risk
Step 4: Review controls (monitoring and review)
2.2 Step 1 – Identification of hazards
The principal and/or their delegate may need to review the OHS Risk at least on an annual basis or as part of or after any of the following:
- identifying hazards prior to purchasing substances or plant and equipment which may include the hazard of storing and handling flammable paints, entanglement hazard associated with workshop machines like lathes and mills (OHS Purchasing Policy)
- reviewing audit results
- reviewing results of workplace inspections (Workplace Inspection Policy)
- consultation with the HSR and employees (OHS Consultation and Communication Policy)
- reviewing hazard reports from eduSafe (staff login required) (Reporting and Managing School Incidents — Including Emergencies)
- reviewing health monitoring reports
- observations during work
- task analysis (OHS Risk Management Policy)
- incident reporting and investigation (Reporting and Managing School Incidents — Including Emergencies)
- when implementing specific hazard management policies, for example Manual Handling Policy.
Following the review, the principal and/or their delegate must list all newly identified hazards in the OHS Risk Register. The hazard description needs to be clearly articulated on the register for a correct assessment of the risk level and subsequently the proper identification of the required controls needed to reduce the risk level.
Associated risk management and hazard identification forms (for example Plant and Equipment Risk Management Workplace Inspection Checklists and so on) are to be used for specific hazards identified.
2.3 Step 2 – Assessing the risk
Risk Assessment is the process of determining the ‘level of risk’ associated with a hazard. It is recommended to use the risk rating to prioritise the implementation of risk control actions.
The principal and/or their delegate must ensure that risk assessments are conducted in consultation with the Health and Safety Representative (HSR) and affected employees, including:
- the Health and Safety Committee (HSC), when available
- other relevant employees, contractors, volunteers and visitors
- with the use of relevant reference material, for example Safety Data Sheets for chemicals.
In determining the level of risk, the following must be taken into account:
- the experience of the person exposed to the hazard
- the frequency and/or duration of the person’s exposure to the hazard
- any existing controls
- contributing environmental conditions
- pre-existing hazards.
Where a hazard is similar for different work areas a single generic assessment of one representative work situation may suffice, for example using whiteboard cleaner in various classrooms at a school. In this case, it is the responsibility of the principal or their delegate to ensure that the risk assessment is valid for each of the work areas to which it is intended to apply.
The principal and/or their delegate must ensure that risk assessments are documented using the hazard-specific risk management forms outlined in each OHS procedure. If no specific risk management form is specified, the Risk Assessment may be utilised using the following risk matrix to assign a risk level to each hazard.
2.3.1 Using the Risk Matrix
- Evaluate the consequences of a risk occurring according to the ratings in the top row.
- Evaluate the likelihood of an incident occurring according to the ratings in the left hand column.
- Using the Risk Matrix, calculate the level of risk by finding the intersection between the likelihood and the consequences.
|Minor||2||Injury of ill health requiring first aid|
Injury or ill health requiring medical attention
Injury or ill health requiring hospital admission
|Rare||1||The incident may occur somewhere, sometime (“Once in a life time / once in a hundred years”)|
|Unlikely||2||The incident may occur somewhere within the school over an extended period of time|
|Possible||3||The incident may occur several times in the school over a period of time|
The incident may be anticipated multiple times over a period of time.The incident may occur once every few repetitions of the activity or event
The incident is prone to occur regularlyIt is anticipated the incident will occur for each repetition of the activity of event
- If likelihood is almost certain or likely the risk is medium
- If likelihood is possible, unlikely of rare, the risk is low
- If likelihood is almost certain the risk is high
- If likelihood is likely or possible, the risk is medium
- If likelihood is unlikely of rare, the risk is low
- If likelihood is almost certain the risk is extreme
- If likelihood is likely the risk is high
- If likelihood is possible or unlikely, the risk is medium
- If likelihood is rare, the risk is low
- If likelihood is almost certain or likely the risk is extreme
- If likelihood is likely or possible, the risk is high
- If likelihood is unlikely or rare, the risk is medium
- If likelihood is almost certain or likely or possible, the risk is extreme
- If likelihood is likely or possible, the risk is high
- If likelihood is rare, the risk is medium
Risk level/rating and actions
Based on the level of the risk (the risk rating) the following actions must be undertaken:
- Extreme risk: Notify principal immediately. Corrective actions should be taken immediately. Cease associated activity.
- High risk: Notify principal immediately. Corrective actions should be taken within 48 hours of notification.
- Medium risk: Notify principal. Nominated employee, HSR/HSC is to follow up that corrective action is taken within seven days.
- Low risk: Notify principal. Nominated employee, HSR/OHS Committee is to follow up that corrective action is taken within a reasonable time
For every hazard that is added to the OHS Risk Register, risks associated with that hazard are assessed in two stages, using the steps and the matrix above. Firstly, the inherent risk is assessed, then the residual risk after the controls are applied.
The inherent risk assessment which is completed initially involves scoring the risk level of the hazard without considering any OHS controls. The second assessment (residual risk rating) involves scoring the OHS risk level of the hazard after considering current existing risk controls that are in place. The residual risk rating should be regularly reviewed as new controls are identified and implemented.
Comparing the inherent risk rating to the residual risk rating you would be able to demonstrate to relevant parties (for example the Department, WorkSafe, external auditors and so on) that the controls in place are effective in reducing residual risk levels to a tolerable level.
2.4 Step 3 – Eliminate or control the risk
Once hazards have been identified and risk assessed, the principal and/or their delegate must ensure a control strategy to either eliminate or control the risk is to be documented in the OHS Risk Register and implemented. The hierarchy represented in the diagram below identifies control strategies from the most effective at the top to the least effective strategy at the bottom.
All school personnel must consider control strategies in the order of the hierarchy of controls appearing below.
Hierarchy of controls
When selecting controls for the hazards identified in the OHS Risk Register, ensure the Hierarchy of Control is considered.
Please note, not all strategies, when implemented in isolation, will reduce the residual risk to a tolerable level. In such circumstances, the principal should consider the implementation of two or more risk controls in conjunction to achieve the best possible risk reduction. For example, in science labs where hazardous chemicals are used, ventilation (engineering control) might be required, as well as, a review of hazardous chemical safe handling procedure and training (administrative control) and providing respiratory protection (Personal Protective Equipment). An example of each level of the hierarchy is given below:
- Elimination - Completely remove the hazard e.g. eliminating hazards associated with working at height by relocating air conditioning units and other equipment which requires ongoing maintenance from the roof to the ground level
- Substitution - Change a work practice, chemical or piece of equipment to provide a safer environment, for example substitute old, non-adjustable office chairs with ergonomic chairs to reduce the risk of injuries or substitute acoustic drums with electronic drums with volume controls
- Engineering - Modify the design of the workplace or plant and/or environmental conditions, for example the use of a fume extraction system to remove fumes generated by hazardous chemicals used in school laboratories, or installing interlocks on workshop machines which can be used to prevent unsafe access to moving parts and sharp edges when the machine is in operation using automatically lockable guards.
- Administrative - Develop procedures and systems to control the interaction between people and hazards, for example reducing the time of exposure to noise by requiring people to be remote from equipment during operation, providing manual handling training to persons so they are better able to identify / report / control / avoid hazards in the workplace.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - Implement PPE to prevent physical contact between a person and a hazard e.g. appropriate footwear, gloves, safety glasses and so on.
The principal and/or their delegate must ensure that prior to implementing risk controls the proposed risk control measures should be reviewed to ensure they do not create new and seemingly unrelated hazards — for example, installation of barriers and guarding for equipment may restrict access and means of escape in case of an emergency.
The effectiveness of risk controls must be tested prior to implementation — such as, residual risk. Refer to section above. A single control will generally affect either the likelihood or consequence of a risk occurring. The difference between the inherent risk and residual risk ratings (with controls applied) will demonstrate the effectiveness of controls.
The principal and/or their delegate must inform all affected employees about the risk controls being implemented and in particular, the reasons for the changes. This can be achieved as part of staff meetings and by sharing the updated OHS Risk Register with all affected employees. Also, ensure that adequate information, instruction, training and supervision is provided to employees, contractors, volunteers and visitors at all times during the implementation of controls to ensure their correct application.
Ensure that any relevant administrative controls, such as forms and/or safe work procedures, relating to hazards are updated — for example, if a new item of equipment is purchased, existing workplace inspection checklists and/or safe work procedures should also be updated.
2.5 Step 4 – Monitor and review controls
The final step in the process is to monitor and review the effectiveness of risk controls that have been implemented. The principal and/or their delegate must ensure that implemented risk controls are reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that they have had the desired impact in reducing the likelihood and/or consequences of a hazard occurring. Consultation with, and feedback from employees will provide information on the application and effectiveness of risk controls in the school.
Chapter 2 of the OHS Risk Management Procedure outlining the Department's risk management methodology and how this can be adopted in schools
Reviewed 07 July 2022