Legislation in most jurisdictions in the world has used a risk management approach for OHS issues. This concept has sometimes been difficult to reconcile with the absolute requirements in legislation and has resulted in examples where excessive precautions have been taken or the risk assessment itself has been seen as the precaution.
In the UK there has been a backlash against OHS in the press where the Elf & Safety mentality has been held responsible for stopping Christmas decorations being erected and preventing children going on school trips amongst other issues.
It is therefore interesting that, in our opinion, the best definition of what a risk assessment should be comes from the UK Health & Safety Executive.
We believe that risk management should be about practical steps to protect people from real harm and suffering – not bureaucratic back covering. If you believe some of the stories you hear, health and safety is all about stopping any activity that might possibly lead to harm. This is not our vision of sensible health and safety – we want to save lives, not stop them. Our approach is to seek a balance between the unachievable aim of absolute safety and the kind of poor management of risk that damages lives and the economy.
HSE Sensible Risk Management website
To reduce the risk of OHS being seen in such a negative light in your organisation it is important to carry out risk assessments in a professional manner. RiskChase have had significant experience of carrying out risk assessments in a variety of industries including the following examples