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HSE risk assessment

If you have to carry out a risk assessment relating to HSE for your local working environment or work tasks, an HSE risk assessment may be the correct tool to use. The University of Bergen has prepared a set of templates that can be used for an HSE risk assessment.

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What is an HSE risk assessment?

HSE risk assessment is the name used by the University of Bergen to describe risk assessments related to the local working environment and tasks. For risk assessments relating to one single task or activity, you use a Safe Job Analysis. For risk assessments relating to emergency preparedness and general HSE, you use a Risk and Vulnerability Analysis (RVA-analysis/"ROS-analyse").

An HSE risk assessment follows the risk assessment process, which comprises planning, risk analysis and risk evaluation. We recommend that you are familiar with the process before continuing. You can read more about the risk assessment process here.

When is an HSE risk assessment required?

HSE risk assessments are risk assessments carried out in relation to the local working environment and tasks. They should be carried out at regular intervals as part of the unit’s systematic HSE work.

Each unit should map their working areas and tasks, and assess which of these may represent a hazard. Read more about the mapping process here. On the basis of this process, the unit may choose to carry out HSE risk assessments.

How to carry out an HSE risk assessment?

You follow the risk assessment process. You can read more about the risk assessment process here.

The actual analysis can be performed during one or more meetings with a work group (analysis group).

  • Together, the group members identify possible undesired events that may occur, and assess their causes.
  • The group then identify the consequences that may emerge as a result of the undesired events, and identifies existing measures to reduce risk.
  • This provides the foundations for estimating the categories for consequence and probability.
  • This in turn provides a description of risk that can be illustrated in a risk matrix. 
  • You then assess whether the risk is acceptable or whether new measures must be implemented.
  • After identifying new of measures, the risk is assessed once again.

Read about how to estimate consequence and probability here.

Read about the risk matrix and risk acceptance criteria here.

Use the template for HSE risk assessments so that you complete the items above while following the template.

Participants

The recommended number of participants for the analysis is three to six:

  • The line manager or their representative (Usually the person who organises the risk analysis).
  • Employees with knowledge of the object of analysis (what you are doing a risk assessment of).
  • Persons with knowledge within the discipline/area.
  • Employees who are affected must be allowed to participate.
  • The safety representative may participate where appropriate, and shall be informed of all risk assessments performed at the unit.

What shall an HSE risk assessment cover?

An HSE risk assessment shall focus on working environment and tasks at the local unit level related to HSE. 

A good starting point is to map hazards and problems that may emerge at the unit. Examples are falls, strain injuries, noise, conflicts, chemicals, hazardous tools etc., according to the type of unit.

Risk does not only comprise immediate, physical hazards. The risk assessment can also cover the causes of e.g., musculoskeletal complaints.

Read more about the charting process here.

The risk assessment should cover all the following areas relating to the working environment:

  • Physical
  • Ergonomic 
  • Chemical 
  • Biological

The organisational and psychosocial working environment is charted by the HSE meeting and ARK. Some factors identified in the above processes may be natural to include in an HSE risk assessment. 

Discuss which injuries, illnesses and complaints can occur and who may suffer from them. Discuss groups of persons who perform a certain task and the premises where they perform them (e.g., in laboratories and workshops). Examples of such groups are students, employees, cleaning personnel and persons working behind a counter. What hazards are these groups exposed to in their working environment?

Pay special attention to vulnerable groups:

  • Young or inexperienced employees.
  • Pregnant employees.
  • Foreign employees.
  • Employees from other organisations (contract labour, subcontractors).
  • Visitors/passers-by.
  • Students

Other relevant sources during charting could be HSE nonconformances, HSE datasheets for chemicals and users’ guides for working equipment.

The employees also represent a very valuable source of information about factors deemed hazardous every day at work. 

How shall we use an HSE risk assessment?

The HSE risk assessment provides an overview of hazards and the undesired events they can cause, their consequences and the probability/likelihood of something going wrong. 

As a rule, the HSE risk assessment also helps identify new measures to reduce the risk. 

Start with the most important factors: Significant hazards or problems with a high probability and consequences.

Measures that are simple, quick and inexpensive should also be implemented without delay. It is important to clearly specify what measures is to be implementes, when they should be implemented and who is responsible for implementation. Both templates for HSE risk assessments include action lists you can use to monitor the implementation of measures.

If there are other measures that require more follow-up but are not necessarily urgent, it may be appropriate to include these in the unit’s action plan for HSE as part of the systematic HSE work 

The following should be discussed:

  • Is it possible to completely eliminate the risk?
  • What can we do to prevent the undesired events from occurring?
  • What can we do to limit the consequences if the undesired event were to occur?
  • Have we taken all obligatory action laid down in legislation and regulations?
  • Have we provided sufficient information, instructions and training?

If you have already taken precautions – are they sufficient or do you need to do more?

Tools/Templates

Two templates have been compiled for HSE risk assessments – one complete and one simplified version. 

The templates cover risk analysis and risk evaluation. 

Complete template (click here) You need to connect to the University of Bergen’s network or VPN or external desktop for access.

This is an Excel template that, generates a risk matrix and produces a complete report that can be saved as a PDF file after the analysis.

The risk matrix is filled in automatically when you select probability and consequences from the drop-down menu. The matrix allows you to compare the position of the undesired events in the risk matrix with existing measures and after new measures have been implemented.

Simplified template (click here)

This is a word-template that does not generate a risk matrix. The simplified report can be saved as a PDF file after the analysis.

For some risk assessments, it is not always appropriate to estimate the category of probability and consequence, so that these fields do not have to be filled in on the Word template.

Saving HSE risk assessments

A Team has been set up to store HSE risk assessments.

This is an offer to faculties / UM / UB where HSE risk assessments can be stored in separate channels for each faculty / UM / UB, with separate folders for each department / section.

Each faculty / UM / UB that uses this offer must appoint a channel administrator who controls access to the members on their unit. Only employees who work with HSE risk assessments, the security service and line management shall have access to the channel.

Employees who gain access to the channel at their faculty / UM / UB will in principle have access to read all risk assessments made within their faculty / UM / UB, but if you want access to control folders, there are also opportunities for this. In addition, you can access individual documents, and you can protect your documents by using Microsoft Information Protection.

Employees who gain access will not have the opportunity to read risk assessments made at faculties / units other than their own.

Confidential or personal information shall not be included in HSE risk assessments.

ROS/RVA-analysis (safety and emergency preparedness) is stored in CIM and documented in ePhorte

Additional requirements for risk assessments

Pursuant to the Norwegian Regulations concerning Organisation, Management and Employee Participation, there are additional requirements for certain areas. It is recommended that those persons assigned the task of completing risk assessments for these areas read the additional requirements:

Risk assessments shall be carried out in accordance with the Regulations concerning the Performance of Work in connection with:

the use and handling of chemicals

hot work

the risk of exposure to biological agents

exposure to mutagenic agents

exposure to noise and mechanical vibrations

exposure to artificial optical radiation

exposure to electromagnetic field

the performance of work at height

the performance of manual work that can entail a risk of harmful strain

work that may entail a risk of exposure to violence and threats of violence

work under water or under increased ambient pressure

the risk of avalanches