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10. Review of risk assessments


The principal or consultant is responsible for reviewing risk assessments to ensure that:

  • the contract has been separated into specific contractor activities
  • the contractor has identified hazards associated with the activities
  • the contractor has indicated control measures which have considered the degree of risk associated with the task
  • control measures can be practically implemented during the project.

These guidelines provide practical information to assist principals and consultants in the review of completed risk assessments. The risk assessment is to be completed by the contractor as part of the planning of the works. However, it may be useful for principals or consultants to assist contractors to undertake this task at the time of implementing this system or as part of the contractor induction process.

Risk assessment

Identification of tasks

The contract works or services should be separated into significant tasks or activities. These tasks may be identified by the fundamental hazards associated with each task. Hazards may arise as a result of:

  • the nature and type of services performed
  • the location of the work
  • materials, chemicals or equipment used
  • the time of the work
  • proximity to the public or other contractors
  • the work environment.

Identification of hazards

Contractors should identify the range of hazards associated with each task. A hazard can be defined as the potential to cause injury or illness to one or more people. When determining hazards associated with the task the hazard types below should be considered:

  • physical hazards, e.g. noise, plant related hazards, working at height, manual handling, ergonomic, traffic hazards, collapse, falling objects
  • chemical hazards, e.g. inhalation, skin contact with chemicals, ingestion of chemicals
  • electrical hazards, e.g. direct electrocution, contact with overhead or underground cables
  • biological hazards, e.g. infection, needle stick injury, handling of wastes
  • radiation hazards, e.g. UV light, lasers
  • psychological, e.g. workplace conditions leading to stress.

The attached hazard Identification and control table lists a variety of hazards and the control measures which may be considered. This hazard list is not exhaustive and other controls may be considered for the hazards listed.

Assessment of risk

Risk is defined as the probability of a hazard causing injury or illness. Risk is a combination of the length and time of exposure to the hazard and the likelihood of the hazard being realised.

The hazards should be assigned as follows:

  • class 1: potential to cause death or permanent injury to one or more people
  • class 2: potential to cause one or more lost time injuries
  • class 3: potential to cause an injury treatable with first aid.

A primary goal shall be to eliminate class 1 and 2 risks associated with the contract and should be a major focus of the risk assessment. Contractors should detail risk control measures that adequately address all identified class 1 and 2 risks. When determining risk control strategies, the hierarchy of controls summarised below should be considered. The assignment of risk rating may take into consideration:

  • past accident/incident reports
  • industry experience and data
  • WorkCover claims data
  • personal experience and professional judgement.

Control measures

The contract manager must ensure that the contractor has identified suitable control measures for each hazard. In most cases the contractor will have a greater understanding of the technical requirements of the works and in these cases the contract manager would not be expected to make a judgement as to whether the control strategy chosen by the contractor is the best available safe system of work. Where the specific task does not involve specialty technical expertise, the contract manager should provide feedback to the contractor if they feel the identified control measure is in any way inadequate.

Further guidance regarding the selection of the most suitable control methods is provided in the risk assessment form. In summary the selection of suitable control measures should take into consideration:

  • level of risk
  • hierarchy of controls
  • practicability of implementation.

Hazard identification and control table

The following table provides examples of control measures for a range of generic hazards. These examples are provided as a guide only and site-specific factors must also be considered. Note also that this table of examples does not include all possible hazards.

Hazard Identification and Control Table

HazardPossible causeControl measure
1. Traffic hazards. 1.1 Trucks entering, exiting a work site.

Use of traffic signalmen

Installation of temporary traffic signals.

Use of safety signs.

Speed restriction signs displayed and enforced.

1.2 Working in close proximity to roads.

Use of witches hats or temporary barriers to cordon off sections of road.

Closure of road.

Use of safety signs.

Speed restriction signs displayed and enforced.

2. Manual handling. 2.1 Handling of aged or disabled people.

Use of wheel chairs.

Use of lifting aids.

Imposed restrictions on certain activities.

Requirements for two person lifts.

Training of employees.

2.2 Use of heavy hand held tools eg grass slasher.

Use of support harness.

Limits on duration of use.

2.3 Handling of heavy objects.

Provide mechanical aids.

Redesign object or task.

3. Contact with heat. 3.1 Hot Materials. Provide appropriate protective clothing and training.
3.2 Fire in the Workplace.

Keep workplace clear of waste materials.

Issue of hot work permit.

Remove flammable materials or store correctly.

Provide adequate fire fighting equipment.

Employee fire fighting training.

Eliminate ignition sources from flammable atmospheres.

3.3 Exposure to sun.

Provide protective clothing and sunscreen.

Reduce exposure time.

4. Contact with electricity.

4.1 Faulty electric leads and tools.

Tools and leads inspected and tagged.

4.2 No earth leakage detectors.

Residual current devices in all circuits.

Residual current devices tested regularly.

4.3 Electric leads on ground.

Electrical leads kept elevated and clear of work areas.

4.4 Electrical leads in damp areas.

All electric leads kept dry.

4.5 Electric leads tied to metal rails.

All electric leads are kept insulated.

4.6 Plant not isolated.

Ensure permit to work system followed.

Lock-out and equipment tag procedure.

4.7 Contact with underground or overhead cables.

Location of services to be established.

Overhead cables to be protected.

Services to be isolated when working in proximity.

Establish safe clearance distances.

5. Exposure to noise.

5.1 Plant and equipment not silenced.

Fit noise suppression to noisy plant and equipment.

5.2 Not wearing appropriate protection.

All personnel to wear appropriate PPE (hearing protectors).

5.3 Excessive exposure time to noisy areas.

Regulate employee exposure to noise.

6. Contact with high pressure.

6.1 Burst air lines.

Air hoses in good condition and regularly inspected.

6.2 Hoses becoming uncoupled.

All hose couplings fitted with pins or chains.

6.3 Using compressed air to clean clothing.

Prohibit and instruct employees on dangers.

6.4 Improper handling of gas cylinders.

Cylinders stored upright and secured.

6.5 Defective pressure gauges.

All pressure gauges inspected regularly for defects.

7. Contact with chemicals.

7.1 Incorrect handling procedures.

All employees trained in material safety data sheet (MSDS) requirements.

7.2 Lack of information.

Review MSDS and assess risks.

7.3 Not wearing appropriate PPE.

All personnel provided with appropriate PPE.

7.4 Incorrect storage.

Hazardous substances stored and labelled correctly.

7.5 Elevated exposure levels.

Provide mechanical ventilation.

All personnel provided with appropriate PPE.

8. Contact with radiation.

8.1 Exposure to arc welding.

Welding operations shielded.

8.2 Not wearing appropriate PPE.

All personnel wear appropriate PPE.

8.3 Exposure during radiography operations.

Correct procedures developed and followed.

8.4 Exposure to lasers.

Regular equipment check.

Follow documented safe work procedure for laser.

8.5 Exposure to sun.

Provide protective clothing and sunscreen.

9. Struck against.

9.4 Protruding objects in access routes.

Protruding objects are removed or marked.

Provide appropriate PPE (hard hat, safety boots).

9.5 Not wearing appropriate PPE.

Provide appropriate PPE and training.

9.6 Personnel running in the workplace.

Personnel exercise restraint and walk.

10. Struck by object.

10.1 Objects falling from work platforms.

All work platforms fitted with toe-boards.

Fence off areas below to prevent access.

Materials stacked securely.

All personnel wear appropriate PPE (hard hats).

Secure loose objects to structure.

10.2 Debris from grinding operations.

Personnel wear appropriate PPE.

Shield grinding operations.

10.3 Wind blown particles.

All personnel wear appropriate PPE.

10.4 Loads slung from cranes.

Loads not slung over personnel.

Taglines are used to prevent loads swinging.

Loads slung correctly.

11. Fall from height.

11.1 No handrails.

All work platforms have secure handrails.

11.2 Working outside handrails.

Persons wear full fall arrest type harness.

11.3 Floor penetrations not covered.

All floor penetrations covered or barricaded.

11.4 Ladders not secured.

All ladders secured to prevent movement.

Ladders to extend at least 1m above landings.

11.5 Unsafe area.

Tag and fence to prevent access.

12. Slips and falls.

12.1 Access routes obstructed by materials.

All access routes kept clear of materials and debris.

12.2 Leads and hoses across access routes.

All leads kept clear of ground or covered.

12.3 Slippery surfaces.

All surfaces used for access kept dry and in good condition.

12.4 Safety footwear not appropriate.

Personnel wear appropriate safety footwear.

12.5 Poor visibility.

Provide adequate lighting.

13. Caught between.

13.1 Operating plant.

Guarding of rotating plant and hand tools.

Safe work procedures to be followed.

Provide roll over cage protection.

Pre-start daily safety inspection.

13.2 Moving plant.

Personnel kept clear when operating plant.

Fit reverse alarms to plant and check operation.

13.3 Moving loads.

All personnel kept clear during crane operations.

13.4 Loads tipping or swinging.

Load slings properly secured.

13.5 Materials being positioned.

Safe Work Procedures for moving heavy loads.

14. Overstress.

14.1 SWL exceeded during lifting operations.

Compliance with SWL and radius charts on cranes.

All lifting gear checked regularly.

14.2 Sprains and strains.

All personnel trained in manual handling techniques.

15. Ergonomic hazards.

15.1 Poor work posture.

Workstation to conform with ergonomic standards.

Seating to conform with ergonomic standards.

Training of employees.

Provide adequate task lighting.

15.2 Use of excessive force.

Provide mechanical aids.

Modify workplace design.

15.3 Repetitive movements.

Modify task requirements.

Job rotation.

16. Asbestos hazards.

16.1 Accidental disturbance or contact.

Asbestos materials identified and labelled.

Asbestos materials removed from workplace.

Safe work procedures developed.

17. Biological hazards.

17.1 Needlestick injury.

Provide appropriate waste disposal containers.

Provide employees with PPE.

Develop safe work procedures and train staff.

17.2 Potential exposure to HIV, hepatitis.

Develop safe work procedures and train staff.

Immunisation program.

17.3 Potential exposure to Legionella bacteria.

Provide employees with PPE.

Implement microbial control procedures.

18. Excavation / trenching.

18.1 Collapse of earth.

Shoring to be provided in accordance with code of practice.

Shoring to be inspected regularly.

18.2 Fall into excavation.

Provide barricades around excavation.

18.3 Asphyxiation.

Provide exhaust ventilation and test atmosphere.

18.4 Inadequate access to excavation.

Provide safe access by steps or ladders.

19. Plant overturn.

19.1 Crane overturn.

Cranes to be set up on solid ground and away from edge of excavation.

19.2 Mobile plant overturn.

Plant to be fitted with roll over cage protection.

Safe work procedures developed.