Risk Management

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Risk Management

A risk is any unanticipated occurrence, which may come up and cause a loss of some kind. It is the probability that an event will occur that has negative outcomes. These events get in the way of the normal activities and may bring about losses. Risk management involves the analysis of risks and planning on how to handle them when they come up. Risks are inevitable and that is why a risk management plan is necessary in all organizations. The most common risks faced by most organizations include fire outbreaks, collapsing of buildings, employees falling off from high ladders or even slipping on slippery floor and falling. These hazards happen accidentally and are a threat to people’s lives and their property. “Risk management provides ways of minimizing the consequences of these unascertained events and reducing the probability that they will occur as much as possible” (Smithies 47). It does not guarantee that they will not occur. Among all the risks mentioned, fires are the most disastrous. A fire outbreak in an organization can cause more deaths and loss of property than any other risk. This also happens to be the risk, with the highest rate of occurrence in organizations. Fire fighting services are very important in any given community in that they carry out different activities in relation to safety from fire such as assessing the risks, preventing fires where possible and putting it off when it occurs thus saving people’s lives and property.

Risk assessment is a very important procedure in any organization. This is the qualitative and quantitative analysis of risks to determine their magnitude. It involves the identification of hazards and evaluation of threats. After an assessment of the possible risks has been done, it becomes possible to come up with precautionary measures. When carrying out a risk assessment, it is advisable to consider all the activities going on in the organization. “Some risks affect members of the public as well, and these should also be considered when doing risk assessment” (Smithies 56). Quantitative risk analysis involves calculating two elements of risk that is the probability of the risk occurring and the magnitude of the loss. It quantifies the risk. Qualitative analysis on the other hand involves the assessment of risks based on their possible outcomes. This is determined by the analyzing of the tangible losses. For example, a fire outbreak in an office can cause a loss of property worth five thousand dollars.

The two main objectives of carrying out risk assessment are hazards identification and for the determination of fire safety procedures. Hazard identification is meant to provide information on which areas caution should be exercised. The second objective of determining the fire safety procedures aim at ensuring that people are rescued on time in case a fire occurs. This also includes minimization of the possibility of a fire occurring, putting up enough emergency exits to ensure that people are able to escape without trampling on each other and minimizing the damage caused by the fire on the premises.

There are two categories of risks encountered by fire and rescue service providers in their daily operations. These are the operational and non-operational risks. Operational risk management is one involved with taking great risks such as climbing into a burning house to rescue a person. These risks are mainly concerned with emergency operations. The groups of people who encounter this are the administrators in the fire service. This is because they have the capacity to handle the emergencies in an expertise way. There are some risks, which a firefighter cannot escape in their duty. This is because they usually go out to rescue people’s lives and property, exposing themselves to the risks of being injured or even losing their lives.

Non-operational risks are those, which involve the organization’s assets. Fire and rescue service providers are also faced with these risks within their premises. If they do not safeguard themselves from their effects, then they stand a chance of losing their assets. This will interfere with their service delivery to the public. For example, a fire outbreak in a fire station will destroy fire-fighting equipments. This will definitely compromise their competence in responding to fire alerts. They should therefore take precautions against all possible risks that may get in the way of their operations. Non-operational risks in a fire station are mainly caused by negligence. This involves mishandling of dangerous substances. Electricity however happens to be the leading source of fires in premises. Care should therefore be taken when handling electricity and flammable chemicals.

The risk assessment procedure is categorized into five stages. The first stage is that of hazard identification. This involves assessing the work environment and finding out what might harm people in the course of their duty. This can also be based on past experiences of accidents and poor health conditions. Some hazards are negligible but have serious consequences in the end. A good example is that of harmful gases, whose inhalation can lead to health problems in future. These should also be considered when assessing the hazards. The second stage is about determining the most vulnerable people. This also identifies the nature of the possible harm that is whether it is physical injury or health problems.

In the third stage, the risks are evaluated and a decision is made on the precautions to take. It is not possible to get rid of hazards completely. However, anything that can be done in a practical and reasonable way should be done to ensure employee safety at work. The fourth stage involves recording the conclusions and ensuring that they are implemented. This is to provide the employees with a reminder on what they should do to ensure safety. The findings should be recorded in the simplest way possible such that employees at all capacities are able to understand it. The fifth and final stage of risk assessment is that of reviewing the whole assessment and making amendments where necessary. This is done over time as more hazards are identified in the daily running of activities in the organization. Any amendments made should be communicated to the employees on time. At the end of this document is an example of a risk assessment, which is used during operational incidents.

“The fire and rescue services Act 2004 corresponds to the widespread reforms of the legal framework related to fire risks and the responses to this” (Integrated Risk Management Plan 6) . This act was published by the communities for Local government to be able to guide the fire fighting and response procedures. The Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service came up with standards guiding the delivery of fire fighting services when the need arises. This department is bound by the law to provide these services and equipments in the local area. It also offers training and procurement services in relation to fire emergencies. The integrated risk management plan (IRMP) is a publication of this department, aimed at “developing local response standards towards fire and rescue services provision both now and in the future” (Integrated Risk Management Plan 10)

The major purpose of this publication is to improve the responsiveness of the Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service to fire emergencies. This will enable the organization to be more effective in its tasks, thus guaranteeing a protected neighborhood from destructions caused by fires. This document is made up of short-term plans, which in the end will ensure an effective fire and rescue authority with sufficient facilities. These plans are reviewed annually to determine whether their implementation is practical. This is done by getting the views from the members of the public, regarding their experience with this organization’s services in the past one year. The strategic goals of this document include; improving the safety of the fire fighters, minimizing the chances of lose of lives in fire incidents, minimizing the fire incidents themselves and reducing the socio-economic impacts of fires and other accidental emergencies.

The fire and rescue operations are carried out in diverse environmental states. Their safety is therefore endangered even by the weather condition such as the direction of the wind. They are most endangered when working from high points. They therefore need to take extra caution. Strong winds put them at risk of being caught by the flames. “The legal framework for fire fighters’ safety therefore stipulates that operations done from high points should only be carried out when the weather conditions are favorable, such that the fire fighter’s life is not in danger” (Holmes, 67). The other serious risk encountered by fighters in their operations is that of falling objects and fragile surfaces. These cannot be anticipated, but the injury they cause can be minimized by putting on safety attires.

The main elements of the fire and rescue services in their daily activities include prevention, protection and response (intervention). These elements are integrated to come up with the best safety policies. It is not possible to prevent completely accidental fires and other risks. The element of prevention in this plan is meant to reduce these incidences and their impact where they have happened. This plan provides the guidance on how to “attain sustainable reduction in fires and other emergency occurrence and the resulting fatalities, injuries and losses” (Integrated Risk Management Plan 12). It works by identifying the most endangered sections of the community and putting up the preventive measures.

The element of protection works towards offering protective measures to premises, against fire outbreaks. The strategies employed in fire protection services include delivering assessment and enforcement services to industrial and commercial premises. These inspections are scheduled such that the inspection system automatically carries out its tasks at specified dates. Any fire outbreak is followed by a thorough inspection to determine the cause and prevent a recurrence elsewhere. Inspection is also done upon request by the members of the public. This enables possible risks to be detected and dealt with, thus providing buildings with protection against fires.

The third element is that of response or intervention. To have an efficient response system, the local government should ensure that fire stations are decentralized. This guarantees every region a fire station with sufficient equipments to handle emergencies. They are also provided with enough fire engines and equipments, to be in a position to handle more than one case at a time. A while ago, the level of response to fire was determined by the property at risk. This however has changed to a more flexible basis, which considers the risk to people more than to property. Research shows that “fire and rescue service attendance rate has been on the rise over the past 5 years, with around 86 per cent attended within 10 minutes. The number of deaths caused by fire has also reduced by around 27 percent” (Integrated Risk Management Plan 13).

Apart from the duty to respond to emergency fires, the fire and rescue service also have the liability of protecting the health of its employees. Employees, especially fire fighters are exposed to serious dangers such as falling off ladders or even getting burns. Harm however occurs, at times not out of negligence but accidentally. This means that the employees should combine forces with their employer to ensure their safety in the work place. In this case of the fire and rescue services, employee protection includes a management structure that considers the scope and environment in which they work in. They need to discover the possible dangers they are exposed to in their duty, come up with ways of creating a safe environment, and implement these measures effectively.

There are a number of statutes governing the aspect of employee safety at the workplace. Under common law, “all the employers have a duty of care, which requires them to protect their employees” (Barrett 30). It is therefore the employers’ obligation to ensure that there is a safe environment to work in and to ensure that the work environment is free from any form of health hazards. They should provide their employees with the necessary gadgets to ensure that they are safe from physical injury.

Caution should be exercised such that past incidents where employees were injured are not repeated. Proper protective devices should be given to all employees to ensure that they are well protected from physical injury. This includes helmets, fireproof overalls, protective boots as well as gloves. This will prevent the recurrence of an event similar to what happened in Southampton, where two firefighters died in the course of service. The reasons behind ensuring employee safety measures are categorized into three that is; moral, economic and legal reasons.

It is ethical for any employer to be mindful of their employees. This is because they expect them to deliver their best. To do that, they have to be healthy and free from injuries. This will enable them to perform their duties to the best possible standards. As for the economic reasons, good health and protection of employees is considered cost effective. It is costly to invest in safety measures but more costly to compensate injured employees under legal obligation. It is also a legal requirement for fire service providers to ensure the health and safety of its employees. They should do everything within their means to ensure that the employees are less vulnerable to injuries. Employee safety is compulsory especially in this case of firefighters, because their work is that of saving lives and property.

There are a number of statutes governing the aspect of employee safety at the workplace. Under common law, “all the employers have a duty of care which requires them to protect their employees” (Barrett 43). It is therefore the employers’ obligation to ensure that there is a safe environment to work in and to ensure that the work environment is free from any form of health hazards. They should provide their employees with the necessary gadgets to ensure that they are safe from physical injury.

An example of a risk assessment scenario is as follows. A risk assessment form is prepared with the following fields. Location, type of equipment or premise being assessed, description of the task, identification of the hazards related to each task, identification of the people exposed to these hazards and the control procedures available. The hazards identified are classified according to their likelihood of causing harm. The necessary control measures are then stated. This assessment has to be in line with the standard operating procedures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FM/8/1/2

(NCB11/09)

Ref No:

Fire and Rescue Service –Risk Assessment Record

 


Initial Risk Assessment

 

Review  

Please place a ü in the relevant box

 

  1. Details of risk assessment including location/description of activity or equipment to be assessed:

 

2. Task

3. Hazard and Outcome(s)

4. Risk Groups

 

 

5. Control Measures In Place

6. Level Of Risk

 

7. Control Measures Required

 

8. Level Of Risk

L

S

R

L

S

R

Fire Fighting

Tripping or suffocation. These can lead to injuries or even death

Fire Fighters

Oxygen equipment provision, spreading weight between crew members, manual handling training.

3

3

9

More safety and fire fighting equipments.

2

3

6

Rescue from Lift and Apartments

 

Slips, trip, fall, stress, fatigue, crush

Operating personnel, the public and visitors.

Analytical and dynamic Risk assessment and utilisation of lift related engineers and mechanics.

2

3

6

Drilling the lift personnel from time to time and providing them with rescue equipment.

2

2

4

Accessing the

Security Gates

into Compartment

 

Persons may be trapped in a

Premise on fire. It may cause injuries and even death to the trapped people

Public and visitors

Proper Risk assessment program, Oxygen apparatus.

2

2

4

Having a number of emergency exits, securing the area so that no one goes near the danger

1

2

2

        Loss of communication

 

Firefighters needing help when trapped in the operation

Fire and rescue personnel

Ensuring communication lines are in place, and there is a plan B, in case of failure.

3

2

6

Having mobile communication devices which are more reliable

2

2

4

*A = Wholetime

*B = Retained

*C = Other Agencies

*D = Control Staff

*E = Non-Uniform/Support Staff

F = Public

 

11. Name Signature

Date

Review Date

Assessor    

 

 

Health & Safety    

 

 

9. Technical References   10. Associated GRA’s Generic hazards, Carrying out rescues, incidents involving transport facility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEASURES OF LIKELIHOOD (PROBABILITY)

LEVEL

DESCRIPTOR

DESCRIPTION

1

Very unlikely

The event may occur only in exceptional circumstances

2

unlikely

The event could occur at some time.

3

Moderate

The event will occur at some time.

4

Likely

The event could occur in most circumstances.

5

Very likely

The event will occur in most circumstances.

 

MEASURES OF SEVERITY (CONSEQUENCE)

LEVEL

DESCRIPTOR

DESCRIPTION

1

Negligible

Minor local first aid treatment

2

Minor

Injury requiring first aid treatment. Inability to continue with current work activity for 3 days or less. Minimal financial loss or damage.

3

Serious

Medical attention required. Moderate environmental implications, financial loss or damage, loss of reputation & business interruption.

4

Major

Permanent or life changing injuries. High environmental implications, financial loss or damage, loss of reputation & business interruption.

5

Fatalities

Loss of lives

RISK ASSESSMENT MATRIX – LEVEL OF RISK

 

LIKELIHOOD

5     Fatalities

SEVERITY

5

10

15

20

25

4     Major

4

8

12

16

20

3     Serious

3

6

9

12

15

2     Minor

2

4

6

8

10

1    Negligible

1

2

3

4

5

1 Very Unlikely

2 Unlikely

3 Moderate

4 Likely

5 Very Likely

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low Risk Acceptable – Monitor. See note 1 below.
Moderate Risk Acceptable – subject to guidance. See note 2 below.
High Risk Unacceptable. Activity must not proceed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hazard Identification

Asbestos

Animals

Biological
Building Construction
Chemical (Acid
Confined Space
Carcinogenic
Demolition
Dermatological
Electrical
Environmental
Exposure to extreme heat
Fall from Height
Fatigue
Fire/Explosion
Gas, Mains/LPG/ Acetylene
Glazing/Glass
Heat stress
Hazardous Substance
Infection
Insufficient Protective Clothing
Mechanical
Manual Handling/Moving Vehicles
Noise
Poor Housekeeping
Insufficient Lighting
Pressure systems
Radiation (Ionizing / non ionizing)
Sanitary
Extremes of temperature
Unstable ground
Poor Ventilation
Excessive Vibration
Underground Services/Overhead cables
Violence
Water

Control Measures

Use PPE  (Be specific)
Wear RPE
Ventilate for 24 hours
Cordon of the area
Isolate supplies
Transfer Risk
Guard
Prevent Access
Apply a safe system of work
Use hearing protection
Use of specialist equipment
Follow SSOW ( Be specific)
Substitute
Drink plenty of fluids
Check the atmosphere before entry
No Lone working
Wear sun protection and or a hat
Good Hygiene Procedure
Use fall arrest
Engage specialist knowledge
Lock safe  (preventing un authorized use)
Follow good house keeping procedures
Wear a life jacket
Use life lines
Call the Police and avoid confrontation
Use Barriers
Follow correct procedures
Avoid contact call a specialist
Use gloves
Minimum 2 persons
Follow a  robust lone working procedure
Complete a COSHH assessment
Use Breathing Apparatus
Use portable forced ventilation
Lay a temporary road
Isolate

Note 1.Under low risk circumstances, no further action is required. However, monitoring should be done to ensure that it remains as low as so far as is reasonable practical’.

Note 2. Duties which have been identified as having moderate risk, after putting up control measures should be carried out once the risk has been minimized ‘so far as is reasonable practicable’.

 

Work Cited:

Barrett, Brenda. The Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008: the cost of behaving dangerously in the workplace.

Industrial Law Journal 38.1 (2009): 73-79. Print.

Communities and Local Government. Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare: Guidance for Fire and Rescue

Service: Generic Risk Assessments: Introduction. London, UK: TSO, 2009. Print.

Compton, Dennis, and John, Granito. Managing Fire and Rescue Services. Municipal

management series. Washington, D.C: International City/County Management Association, 2002. Print.

Holmes, Andrew. Risk Management. Oxford, U.K: Capstone Pub, 2002. Internet resource.

Institution of Fire Engineers and the Fire Protection Association. Fire Risk Management. Moreton-in-Marsh: Fire

Protection Association, 2008. Print.

Oxfordshire Fire Authority. Integrated Risk Management Plan 2008-2013. S.l.: Oxfordshire County Council, 2007.

Print.

Smithies, Nigel. Fire Risk Management. Gloucestershire, England: The Association, 2007. Print.

Symons, Robert. Developing a Risk Management Program for Fire Service Organizations.

Emmitsburg, MD: National Fire Academy, 1993. Print.

Thomson, Norman. Controlling Fire Hazards: Fire Risk Assessment. Aberdeen: NGT Publishing Limited, 2007.

Print.

United States Fire Administration. Risk Management Practices in the Fire Service. Emmitsburg, Md.: Federal

Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Fire Administration, 1996. Internet resource.

 

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