Clarifying the Language of Risk

19 APRIL 2019 | 3 MIN READ

Risk assessment, both task-based and operational, is a fundamental way in which we keep our personnel safe from harm. Properly assessing risk can; ensure our people go home safe, protect our business from harm and prevent damage to the environment.

Understanding the language of risk is vital for the success of any risk assessment. Currently, there is a lot of confusion around the definitions of task, hazard, risk, severity, consequence and control. This confusion has resulted in risk assessments that fail to make people aware of where the danger is coming from and the risk they are exposed to.

Items such as risk-increasing factors, a lack of control, and task steps are all mistaken for hazards.

For example,

This risk assessment highlights power outage as a hazard that would cause injury to personnel. This is unhelpful as it is not logical that a person would be injured from the sole event of a power outage; an additional event would need to occur, such as entrapment.

A power outage would, however, increase the risk of a hazard causing harm - but without the hazards being properly identified the user does not know to be aware of them. The focus would not be on where the danger is, but rather on the lighting conditions.

Gaining Clarity

The need for clarity within the area of risk assessment is undeniable. Without everyone understanding the key terms surrounding risk, we will continue to see substandard Risk Assessments.

That is why Ethos has developed a course that specifically addresses the Language of Risk and how to apply the knowledge of key terms within Risk Assessment.