Transcript Video 6: An introduction to work health & safety management (as excepts in Part III)

Source: Sheridan, L. (Author / Producer) & Treadwell, L. (Author). (2019). Video 6: An introduction to work health & safety management, Preston, A., audio engineer; Orvad, A., artist and Franks, R., animator, Learning, Teaching and Curriculum. University of Wollongong, Australia.


What are some other Risk Management Words and concepts that are important in this common language we are now starting to speak?





Risk Assessments

Hierarchy of Controls

Safe work Method Statements

And Human Factors

Let’s start learning this “new Language” or at least words used in specific ways that have specific meanings.

SFAIRP (so far as is reasonably practicable)

Is any level of risk acceptable?

Clause 17 of the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011 specifies that a duty holder can ensure health and safety by managing risks, which involves:

  • – eliminating the risks, so far as is reasonably practicable, and
  • – if not reasonably practicable—to minimise the risks, so far as is reasonably practicable.

How do you defined reasonably practicable?

In this context, reasonably practicable means that which is, or was at a particular time, reasonably able to be done to ensure health and safety, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including:

  • – the likelihood of the risk concerned actually happening
  • – the degree of harm that might result from the hazard or the risk
  • – what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about the hazard or risk, and ways of eliminating or minimising the risk
  • – the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk, and
  • – after assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the cost associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, including whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk.


– a list of ways an event can happen


– actions, procedures, processes or systems that help to manage the risk to a level that is reasonably practicable


  • Describing the scenario is like setting the scope for the risk being considered
  • A good scenario describes
    • – The target being affected by the risk (in safety this is usually a person but it could also be the environment, community, plant or equipment).
    • – How the event occurs and the consequence to the target – for example how and what would injure the person?
    • – Potential magnitude of the injury (if that’s known at this stage).
    • – Example, one scenario: A person is run over by a forklift resulting in death of the person

Risk Assessments – tools

Take 2 or Take 5

– Simply means a few minutes before you start a job to think about what you are doing, where you are doing it and what might go wrong.


Checklists are lists of features to consider when assessing a situation

  • – Types and properties of materials
  • – Job tasks – heights, depths, manual handling
  • – Design features – safety devices, pressures, temperatures, volumes
  • – Maintenance – access, how and when?
  • – Operation
  • – Shutdown
  • – Natural events – wind, floods, day and night

Work Method Statements

From SafeWork NSW the purpose of a work method statement is:

  • to outline a safe method of work for a specific job
  • to provide an induction document that workers must read and understand before starting a job
  • to meet legal requirements, that is, hazard identification and control
  • to program work, materials, time, staff, and to anticipate possible problems
  • to use as a tool in quality assurance.


Brainstorming is a way to:

  • Get ideas quickly
  • Involve everyone
  • Allow people to think creatively


  • All ideas are included
  • Don’t analyse each idea as you go
  • Everyone should get time to speak
  • Limit time from 5 to 10 minutes

What If

Ask a series of logical predetermined questions

Hierarchy of Controls

There are many ways to control risks. Some are more effective than others.  Hierarchies of control rank risk from those that offer the highest protection and are the most effective to those that offer the least protection and are the least effective.

Remember that you need to have a mix of controls.  If you only use engineering controls without training or maintenance these will not be effective.  Multiple controls can give you layers of protection – that’s what the Swiss Cheese model aims to show us. In a best case scenario managing the risk associated with hazards is like wearing pants with belts and braces and then also holding your pants up!

You should also consider whether the layers are independent or whether they can all fail in a “common way” often called a “common mode failure” for exampleyour set of engineering controls all rely on electrical power.  If you lose the electrical power all controls fail.

The hierarchy of control works well for:

  • – Separating physical risks
  • – Plant
  • – Chemicals

The hierarchy of control doesn’t work so well for:

  • – Psychosocial risks
  • – Risks that require a combination of controls
  • – Considering unintended consequences for elimination or substitution for example eliminate human involvement (automate a process) needs consideration of the introduced risk – short term, long term and even emergency situations
  • – Or risks that depend on a time sequence

Personal Protective Equipment as a control

Regulation 44-47 in the WHS Regulations includes specific requirements if PPE is to be used at the workplace, including that the equipment is:

  • Selected to minimise risk to health and safety
  • Suitable for the nature of the work and any hazards associated with the work
  • A suitable size and fit and reasonably comfortable for the person wearing it
  • Maintained, repaired or replaced so it continues to minimise the risk
  • Used or worn by the worker, so far as is reasonably practicable

A worker must, so far as is reasonably able, wear the PPE in accordance with any information, training or reasonable instruction

Human Factors – How people are involved in the actions, processes and systems.  Humans are a big source of risk and often unpredictable but there are documented ways to understand how human errors can occur.

For example, did you know that if a person is faced with a process involving creative thinking, the process is unfamiliar, complex and time is short, then the person is likely to have high stress levels and fail 1 in 10 times.  Imagine they are running a process in a heavy industry that could kill someone!

To conclude, these are not every single risk management term that you might come across but you now have an overview of some commonly used risk management terms – you are on the way to joining us in using shared risk management language.

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