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Taking the risk out of risk assessment Robyn BuckMarc De Glas.

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2 Taking the risk out of risk assessment Robyn BuckMarc De Glas


4 The problem –Risk assessments being performed rarely or not at all –Problems occurred with incidents at UQ No risk assessments recorded No compliance with Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 (QLD) which mandated risk assessment and management (S.22.1)

5 A High Risk Incident - Student - head injury Risk assessment – high risk Controls increase numbers small dugongs helmets measurements Risk assessment - moderate

6 Risk assessment at UQ prior to 2003 Hit and miss Some places, mostly labs had paper- based or database systems Only done for chemical risks No University wide system Likely to be done after an incident No understanding of need for risk assessments

7 A Smaller Risk Crocodile escape? Recapture Even experts have problems handling adventurous reptiles

8 What did UQ need? A risk management system that was accessible to and useful for all staff A system for non-specialist OH&S staff –The person doing the task should do the risk assessment The system should be based on –Qld Risk Management Advisory Standard 2000 –Australian Standard 4360: 1999

9 The criteria A web based system Based on Risk Management –Advisory Standard 2000 –AS/NZ 4360:1999 Simple Already in use

10 Findings Most existing systems built for OHS specialists –For companies who build 1 widget; not 1000s of different widgets in 1000s of different ways Offer from company who was already providing us with software to build a system System built by NSCA staff using an access database

11 The chosen one The NSCA system –It was web ready –Simple –Based on AS 4360

12 Problems Not web ready Not usable across all platforms and programs (Macs, linux) –Many users use these systems Developers in Cairns and Brisbane Not IT professionals –That initially appealed to us –Developed by OHS professionals who designed simple, logical system Could not understand scale of problem Many implementation, training problems, crashes

13 Solutions New professional IT developer Initially tried to patch up existing system Then did complete rebuild System now across all platforms, most programs New modules being developed –Chemical safety to comply with Hazardous Substances and Dangerous Goods Regs

14 Taking bytes of the elephant Wide range of tasks at UQ Best if the person who does the task does the risk assessment Training users major part of program

15 But will database be used? The proof is in the ---------

16 Risk assessment training pre Millenium  Based on NSCA risk score calculator  Training sessions in place and well attended  Assessment program set for laboratories  Some progress but limited response  Number of problems with usage identified

17 Risk assessment using NSCA web database  University wide system accessible all computer platforms  Format familiar and easy/attractive to access and use  Record of assessments to meet legislation Access to all University assessments; by author, workplace or task. A ready record of hazards/risks across UQ campuses  Versatile; author has full access to modify assessments others can read only, but copy facility available  Allows supervisor input to risk assessments submitted

18 Conclusion Database now functioning well Continuing to improve it as needed Problems were IT related and appear resolved Next stage is improving quality of risk assessments as quantity of risk assessments increases. We have over 1000 but should probably be at least 20000 Conclusion  Database gives needed impetus for doing risk assessments  Provides an across campus system easily accessible to all  Is a growing valuable shared resource for all to deal with risks  Satisfies legislative risk assessment obligations  Next stage of program – auditing risk assessments to ensure quality










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