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Risk Managment

OSHAD-SF includes a detailed technical guideline for the process of risk management, however for the purposes of this article, we will summarise the process.
Firstly the person conducting the risk assessment should be trained and competent to do so. In reality this means that the person should have an in-depth understanding of the industry and processes that they are assessing (or a supporting industry expert) as well as an awareness of international best practice and specific OSH qualifications.
Secondly, risk assessments should always be conducted in consultation with all stakeholders: workers, supervisors, management, health and safety representatives and so on. This will enable a clear understanding of the hazards involved and how the task is undertaken.
Risk assessment should be an ongoing process and should be undertaken at various times, such as when planning or making a change to work procedures, when introducing new plant, equipment, materials or substances into the workplace, after any OSH incident (including near misses), when introducing new workers and so on. A regular schedule of risk assessments should be planned for all workplace activities and reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Risk assessments are a fundamental tool for identifying and controlling risks in the workplace. A risk assessment is a careful examination of what, in the workplace, could cause harm to people, so that the entity can weigh up whether it has taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm and/or protect the environment.

Five steps of risk assessment
The OSHAD-SF divides the risk assessment process systematically into five steps:

  1. Identify Hazards, based on experience, recorded data and other information;
  2. Understand who can be harmed or what can be damaged from the risk and to what extent;
  3. Evaluate the Risk on a matrix and select additional control measures (if required) using the hierarchy of controls outlined below.
  4. Implement the Selected Control Measure(s) in the workplace; and
  5. Monitor the Control Measures to ensure that they are working correctly to control the risks and that no other risks have been introduced.

Risk Evaluation Matrix

OSHAD-SF states that in order to decide on control measures required, the likelihood of an incident must be evaluated against the probable severity. This will enable a risk rating to be applied which then informs what control measures must be implemented.


First we must understand the potential consequences of an incident (Severity) according to the following table:

Area impacted (a) Insignificant Consequences
(Score = 1)
Minor Consequences (Score = 2) Moderate Consequences (Score = 3) Major Consequences (Score = 4) Catastrophic Consequences
(Score = 5)
Workers Safety and Health Minor injuries, which may require self-administered first aid. Injured personnel can continue to perform normal duties. Injuries requiring on-site treatment by medical practitioner. Worker unable to continue to perform duties. Serious injuries requiring off-site treatment by medical practitioner or immediate evacuation to hospital. Potential long-term or permanently disabling effects. Single fatality. Multiple fatalities.
Production Loss Incident event without causing production loss. Production loss or delay up to one week. Production loss or delay of one week to one month. Production loss or delay for over one month. Loss of licence to operate or ability to produce indefinitely.
Total Cost of Impacts or Incident Event Financial loss (compensation, fines, cost to repair, plant damage) of less than AED5,000. Financial loss (compensation, fines, cost to repair, plant damage) of AED5,000 - AED50,000. Financial loss (compensation, fines, cost to repair, plant damage) of AED50,000 - AED500,000 Financial loss (compensation, fines, cost to repair, plant damage) of AED500,000 -  AED10M. Severe financial penalties or legal liabilities. Financial loss (compensation, fines, cost to repair, plant damage) of greater than AED10M.

Secondly, we must assess the likelihood of such an incident occurring, as follows:

Descriptor Likely Frequency Probability
Frequent Occurs frequently 5
Often Occurs several times per year 4
Likely Has occurred more than once 3
Possible Has occurred 2
Rare Never occurred 1

Armed with this information we can now map severity against likelihood in order to establish what level of mitigation must be considered:

Likelihood   Severity
Insignificant (1) Minor (2) Moderate (3) Major (4) Catastrophic (5)
Rare (1) 1 2 3 4 5
Possible (2) 2 4 6 8 10
Likely (3) 3 6 9 12 15
Often (4) 4 8 12 16 20
Frequent/ Almost Certain (5) 5 10 15 20 25
15 - 25 Extreme Risk Activity or industry should not proceed in current form.
8 - 12 High Risk Activity or industry should be modified to include remedial planning and action and be subject to detailed OSH assessment.
4 - 6 Moderate Risk Activity or industry can operate subject to management and /or modification.
1 - 3 Low Risk No immediate action required, unless escalation of risk is possible.

Hierarchy of controls


Having established the required level of mitigation based on OSHAD-SF requirements, control measures must be implemented according to the following hierarchy of controls in order to reduce the risk to ALARP (as low as reasonably practical) levels.

OSHAD-SF requirement emphasises that ongoing review is essential to ensure that the management plan remains relevant and fit for purpose. Factors that may affect the likelihood and consequences of an outcome may change, as may the factors that affect the suitability or cost of the mitigation options. It is therefore necessary to repeat the risk management cycle regularly.

Risk assessments are a mandatory requirement under the OSHAD System Framework and must be recorded and reported regularly. For more information and guidance, refer to OSHAD-SF Technical Guideline – Process of Risk Management Version 2.01 which can be found at

02 404 3800

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