Your smartphone – a new tool for risk management

A change in legislation in April 2016 means new Health and Safety responsibilities for everyone in the workplace. The new law is aimed at reducing the number of serious work-related injuries and deaths in New Zealand.  The government wants this legislation to ensure that everyone who goes to work comes home healthy and safe.  The introduction of this legislation has caused some confusion, however in essence it is about risk management.  Usually a business will not be able to eliminate all its risks but where they can’t be eliminated they do need to show that they have taken steps to minimise those risks.

Worksafe New Zealand has some great tools online to help you manage the risks.  In this blog we will discuss the first two steps of their risk management framework.

Step 1 – Plan: Identify and assess the risks

You walk around the work site.  You write a list of things that could seriously harm the health or endanger the safety of your workers and others (e.g visitors, bystanders, or contractors). These problems could be immediate or occur over a long period of time (RSI).  What do you do next?  You write them on a board or on a sheet of paper and file it; but are words always the best way to identify a risk?  In the age of smartphones, this is where a quick snap of the problem can help. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words.  By adding photos to a job specification your workers and contractors can see what the hazards are even before coming on site.

Now you have to prioritise the risk, here there are two things to consider:

  • the likelihood of exposure to that risk, i.e. how many people are exposed, how often etc, and
  • potential consequences of exposure to the hazard, i.e. whether serious injury may result.

By asking two simple questions and using a risk matrix assessment a “risk rating” can be given to each hazard. Where exposure is more likely and the potential consequences more severe the risk rating is higher.

Step 2 – Do: Eliminate or minimise the risks

How can this risk be reduced?  Include some hazard control measures and then reassess whether they have reduced the risk to acceptable levels.

Hazard control measures may include:

  • Eliminating the hazard or task totally.
  • Isolating the hazard by using barriers or distance e.g. put barriers up to keep the general public outside the danger zone.
  • Using engineering controls such ventilation to remove dust or fumes
  • Establishing safe work practices, such as restricting access to the area and keeping the areas clutter free.
  • Providing training and supervision at an appropriate level.
  • Providing the correct personal protective equipment and ensuring it is worn.

Taking photos of work site hazards may not be as interesting as taking “selfies”, but using the camera on your smartphone or tablet and Siteapp has the potential to reduce risk and make work site hazards more visible to your workers and contractors.

Keep work sites clean to reduce risk

Risk management can be as easy as taking a picture with your phone.

What jobs put your team at higher risk?  Siteapp uses colour coding for easy identification of high risk jobs. Call today and find out how Siteapp can simplify your risk assessment and keep your team in the green safe zone.

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