What If There Is A Risk Or Hazard?

What If There Is A Risk Or Hazard?

CX74 Staging What If

This article was originally going to be about control systems for chain hoists, but I am going to defer that particular subject once more to address a fairly topical issue.

In past articles, I’ve banged on and on about “and of course you’ve done your Risk Assessment so you’re well informed about what you are dealing with” but it would seem that the concept of Hazard and Risk Assessments, while familiar generally to most of us, is a little misunderstood, and is a “grey” area at best.

So when we talk about performing an HRA (Hazard and Risk Assessment) or Risk Assessment, what do the terms “Hazard” and “Risk” actually mean?

There are several Australian and International standards covering the terminology and methodology of Hazard and Risk, and while the definitions vary from standard to standard (largely because these standards are fine tuned to a specific area of works) a plain English explanation of these terms holds true for all applications and contexts.

Let’s start with dictionary definitions of Hazard and Risk:

Hazard – Something causing danger, peril or risk.

Risk – Exposure to a hazard resulting in (potential) injury or loss.

So, a hazard is the thing that can cause injury, while the risk is the (likelihood of) exposure to that hazard.

Let’s look at a real world example:

If a car’s brakes fail, the result can be, say, running over a pedestrian and causing injury.

The hazard here is a pedestrian being hit by a car, not the car’s brakes failing.

To evaluate the risk of someone being hit by a car is an enormous task, because of the number of factors that could lead to this occurrence, but in this case, we are examining the risk of someone being hit by a car because of brake failure.

So when we attempt to carry out a Hazard and Risk assessment, to make the task manageable, we look at each hazard then examine the things that could cause exposure to this hazard, and evaluate the relative risk of being exposed to this hazard. Do this one hazard at a time and one contributing factor at a time, and pretty soon you end up with a fairly comprehensive list of things you need to guard against to reduce the risk of injury or damage.

Going back to the world of stage machinery then, let’s look at the risk of a chain hoist dropping its load on an unsuspecting member of the public standing below.

Firstly, there is only ONE hazard – a falling load hitting someone.

There are many factors that can contribute to exposure to this hazard, and the entire point of carrying out a Risk Assessment is to develop strategies for minimising the risk (minimising the exposure to the hazard).

A few (but by no means all) of the risks that we need to consider and evaluate are:

Failure of a brake, failure of the chain or hook, failure of the rigging that attaches the load to the hook, failure of the control system to control the speed or the direction of the load, failure of the motor etc.

Some of these things can be dealt with in the design of the hoist, others are environmental (if no one ever stands under the load, it can’t hit them) and others can be dealt with by the design of the control system.

See? I was getting to the subject of control systems for chain hoists, I just wanted to remind you all of the primary reason that we take the time to design and select these things the way we (should) do.

 

Jands Staging provide articles to the "Staging What If" section in CX Magazine. If you have any questions regarding this article then please comment below or email info@jands.com.au

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