By Joanna Weekes
As you know, the past couple of weeks’ OH&S Bulletins have been looking at risk controls – how to choose them, how to implement them and today, how to monitor and review them.
Why do you need to monitor your risk controls?
There are a few reasons that monitoring any risk controls you have put into place is so important…
Putting a monitoring system in place determines whether:
- anything has changed that requires modification of the control measure you originally chose;
- the control measure is still adequate; and
- the risk management process was conducted in a thorough and effective manner.
For example, a control strategy may involve engineering changes paired with an administrative control and it is necessary to ensure that all aspects of the control strategy are being put into place properly.
You may be tempted to choose risk controls that are easier and faster to implement, but while this may seem like a good choice at the time, it may require ongoing resources in the future, for example, for induction, training and supervision purposes.
Implementing a risk control that costs more, takes more time, and removes the risk completely is more effort at the time the hazard is identified, but it eliminates the need to ongoing resources moving forward.
And remember, often the most cost-effective way of making sure hazards are controlled is to design safer workplaces in the first place. It will usually cost more to fit control measures into your workplace at a later date than it would be to build safety into the workplace design from the start, or to select safer equipment in the planning phase.
Taking these points on board will make the monitoring process more straightforward for you in the long-term – it will reduce the need to commit significant resources to monitoring and supervision – but elimination of a risk or redesign of a workplace to be safer is not always possible of course.
So make sure that you document and record your risk management process clearly and train your supervisors in what they need to be looking for to ensure that the risk control measures are being implemented effectively.
For more information on supervision of your workers and workplace, refer to chapter S5 Supervision of Safe Work in your OH&S Handbook.