Risk assessment should not be a once-and-for-all activity. Few workplaces stay the same. Sooner or later, equipment, substances and procedures are updated, often with the introduction of new hazards. Risk assessments should, therefore, be reviewed on an ongoing basis. As the nature of work changes, the appreciation of hazards and risks may develop. Proactive monitoring may reveal unsafe acts or conditions such as poor health and safety behaviours or defects in plant or equipment. The risk assessment may no longer be valid because of, for example, the results of health surveillance, or a confirmed case of an occupationally induced disease.
The risk assessment should be reviewed if developments suggest that it may no longer be valid (or can be improved). It’s wise to plan to review risk assessments at regular intervals. The time between reviews is dependent on the nature of the work and the degree of change likely in the work activity. Such reviews should form part of standard management practice.
The review should consider:
- Any changes (for example: equipment, substances, procedures, people)
- Any issues picked up via proactive monitoring activities
- Any problems reported by the workforce
- Any lessons learnt from accidents or near misses