Pathways to Better Living Pty Ltd – Manage risks in the service
The process of managing risks in the service involves identifying risks, assessing those risks and treating them.
Managing risks in the service involves four steps:
- Identifying risks – find out what could have a negative impact on the service
- Assessing risks – understand the nature of the impact that could be caused by the risk, how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of it happening
- Controlling risks – implement the most effective control measure that is reasonably practicable in the circumstances
- Reviewing control measures – ensure control measures are working as planned
When dealing with WHS risk management, key management personnel should consult with workers during all steps of the process about how best to eliminate or control WHS risks
Identify risks to the service by looking at events, situations or things that could potentially effect the service in a negative way or cause harm to people. This includes:
- Strategic risks
- Compliance risks
- Human resources risks
- Events risks
- WHS risks which arise from:
- Physical work environment
- Equipment, materials and substances used
- Work tasks and how they are performed
- Work design and management
- Fraud risks
- Financial risks
Common tasks with WHS risks to workers supporting participants include:
- Moving and supporting participants e.g. from lying position to sitting or supporting movements or tasks
- Supporting participants with personal hygiene care e.g. bathing and toileting
- Assisting participants in wheelchairs e.g. pushing wheelchairs over soft or uneven surfaces
- Lifting wheelchairs in and out of vehicles
- Occupational violence e.g. aggression, abuse and threats from participants, their family or other household members
- Moving and lifting heavy objects such as furniture
- Duties such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry or transporting participants
Assessing risks is considering what could happen if the event or situation occurred and the likelihood of it happening. A service risk assessment helps to determine:
- How severe a risk is
- Whether any existing control measures are effective
- What action to take to best control the risk
- How urgently the action needs to be taken
A service risk assessment should be done when:
- There is uncertainty about a risk
- A work activity involves a number of different risks and there is a lack of understanding about how risks may interact with each other to produce new or greater risks
- Changes in the workplace which may impact on the effectiveness of control measures
After risks are known, controls need to be put in place. The best control measure involves eliminating the risk – that is removing the risk altogether. If that is not possible, the risk must be minimised as far as reasonably practicable.
For example, a common risk a worker may experience is moving or lifting a participant. This risk is eliminated or greatly reduced by using a hoist.
Deciding what is reasonably practicable to protect the service or people requires taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including:
- The likelihood of the risk occurring
- The degree of harm that might result from the risk
- Knowledge about the risk
- Ways of eliminating or minimising the risk
- The availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk
Only after assessing the extent of a risk and available ways of eliminating or minimising it that associated costs are considered, such as whether the costs are grossly disproportionate to the risk.
Ongoing reporting of hazards, injuries or near misses is also important so key management personnel can analyse risks, review incidents and implement prevention strategies as part of workplace risk management. A qualified WHS advisor should be engaged to implement WHS improvements if required.
Monitor and review
Regularly monitor and review management plans and control measures for risks in the service to ensure their ongoing adequacy. Where relevant discuss management plans with insurer to check insurance coverage.