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Remove hazards with a plant risk assessment form

A plant risk assessment checklist determines hazards and risks in your facility to avoid accidents and injuries. These forms are essential in preventing property and environmental damage as well as saving the health and lives of plant workers.

What Is a Plant Risk Assessment Checklist

A Plant Risk Assessment checklist is a tool used to find out if there are any hazards linked to the tools or machinery in use in your plant. It also helps in laying the foundations of safety control measures that will prevent damage to life, health, property, or the environment.

Using plant risk assessment forms ensure that all risks are evaluated. These forms contain details about the following:

  • Name of the person performing the assessment
  • Date of assessment
  • Activity being assessed
  • Risks or hazards associated with the activity
  • Possible consequences if the risk occurs
  • How likely the consequences will occur
  • The possible severity of the consequences
  • Who is at risk
  • Measures required to eliminate the hazard or minimize risk
  • Actions to be taken during an emergency

Completed Plant Risk Assessment must include a report that provides:

  • Plant identification
  • Plant summary
  • Risk analysis likelihood and consequences
  • Hazard identification
  • Risks and controls
  • Control measures and training
  • Plant inspections, maintenance, and testing

In this article, the following points are explained:

1. Hazards and risks associated with plant operations

2. 5 elements of a plant risk assessment checklist

3. The advantages of going digital

Ariel view of a plant operation expelling smoke stacks

What Are Plant-Based Hazards and Risks?

A hazard is anything that can cause danger in your workplace. Hazards can be a situation or source of human injury or illness, damage to property or environment, or a combination of all these.

Hazards may be the result of low-quality work materials, equipment, and processes. There are five different hazard categories:

  1. Physical Hazards include exposure to slips, trips, and falls, noise, vibration, electricity, radiation, heat, cold, and fire.
  2. Occupational Health Hazards are hazards that come with your work environment or activities related to your work, such as repetitive motion injuries and poor air quality.
  3. Chemical Hazards are toxic, carcinogenic, flammable, combustible and corrosive substances that pose health risks to employees. Some examples are cleaning agents, pesticides, and asbestos.
  4. Biological Hazards are disease-producing organisms such as mold and fungi, viruses, bacteria, and allergens.
  5. Human Factor/Psychosocial Hazards are hazards that can have negative effects on an employee’s physical and mental health. Examples are harassment, bullying, violence, fatigue, alcohol and drug use, and work-related stress.

Many countries have work health and safety laws that require hazard identification. It is a crucial factor of a health and safety management system. Hazard identification is an indispensable step in ensuring health and safety in every workplace.

Risk is the chance that a hazard will cause harm to your employees. It also gauges how severe the damage or injury could be and how widespread the effect could be once it happens.

Plants can be dangerous to employees, visitors, and anyone who enters it. Accidents happen even to the most careful people. That’s why it is necessary to have measures in place that can help prevent accidents in your plant. Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) must be done once a year to make sure your plant is a safe place to work in.

What Are 5 Elements of a Plant Risk Assessment Checklist ?

Your hazard identification and risk assessment checklist for a steel plant must have all of the following six parts for it to be effective. This can also serve as your guide for conducting your annual HIRA.

1) Preparation

The first step in your plant risk assessment checklist is putting together a team that will perform the surveys. They shall also gather the necessary information for the risk assessment. These must be people in the plant that are responsible for making decisions for the overall safety of the workplace.

Pick team members that can provide valuable feedback. They must be able to talk to plant workers so that they can honestly voice their worries and concerns. This makes the plant risk assessment easier and more effective.

The risk assessment team is responsible for:

  • Looking for potential hazards by touring the lab
  • Evaluating how well employees follow safety precautions
  • Ensuring that the safety equipment is in its intended place
  • Presiding regular meetings to evaluate plant safety procedures
  • Organizing safety training and courses for employees
  • Ensuring that all employees have access to all safety tools and protocols

2) Hazard Identification

The second step in your physical plant risk assessment checklist must be to identify hazards or possible incidents. There are countless potential hazards in a plant. Anything could go wrong and you must list all of them. Your risk assessment team must gather all information related to all these hazards.

3) Risk Assessment

The next step in plant risk assessment will require you to calculate the risk level of each of the hazards listed by your risk assessment team. Risks are categorized based on their probability and severity. Risk levels can be low, medium, high, and extremely high.

You can use a risk matrix, which is a visual presentation of the risks affecting the workplace. It is also known as the Probability and Severity Risk Matrix. The risk matrix will help you identify the most severe risks. It can illustrate the possible situation visually and clearly. It can also help evaluate the efficiency of your risk mitigation procedure.

The risks that fall under the extreme category must be your highest priority. Make plans to completely remove the risk. Meanwhile, low risk does not pose any significant problem, but you must do something to get rid of it as well.

4) Plan Control Measures

Your hazard identification and risk assessment checklist for steel plants are of no use if you don’t implement control measures once it’s complete. Once you have identified the risks and the probability of each hazard occurring, you must put forth control measures to prevent, or at least minimize, the chances of an accident occurring in your plant.

You can categorize the five control measures according to:

  • Elimination Control Measures mean removing the hazard physically. This is done when the risk is extremely high.
  • Substitution Control Measures mean replacing the hazard with a safer alternative.
  • Engineering Control Measures mean isolating your employees from the hazard. A good example of this would be putting a biological safety cabinet that will protect your staff from pathogen exposure.
  • Administrative Control Measures mean changing your processes or how your employees work. These can be through training, following new procedures, and putting policies in place that will reduce the risk.
  • PPE means personal protective equipment. Providing your employees with lab coats, gloves, and goggles can help minimize their exposure to the hazard.

5) Record Keeping

Never forget to keep records of all your risk assessment reports. Proper documentation is vital to a successful risk assessment process. Records can be useful when you need to show proof of compliance and make business decisions. Keeping records is not only a good business practice, it is a necessity. Documentation can include photos, lab accident records, feedback from employees, safety training certificates, and safety clearances.

Nuclear power plant made out of concrete

Why Should My Company Invest in a Digital Solution?

With so many potential dangers lurking in practically every avenue of a plant facility, it’s important to get ahead of the paperwork and perform a facility inspection. However, paper forms can be tedious, not to mention how easily they are to lose in the hustle and bustle of a steel, nuclear, water treatment, or whatever plant you run or operate. Plus, paper checklists don’t come with the same features as Lumiform’s super intuitive and easy-to-use app.

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  • The flexible form builder allows you to convert any individual paper lists into digital checklists in minutes. That means you can upload all your old inspection reports to the cloud, clearing out the already limited office space for more important things.
  • You and your teammates can inspect plant operations for any critical or non-critical hazards. When a coworker raises an issue, everyone on your team will automatically be alerted. This feature can quite literally save lives.
  • Because you can use the app both online and offline via a mobile device or desktop software, you can be assured you’ll never miss an incident.
  • All results, images, and comments are automatically bundled into a digital report. This makes problem solving faster, easier, and less complicated than ever before.

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Assessing risk at a steel industrial plant
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