Criteria for Successful Occupational Health and Safety Risk Assessment: A Systematic Review
Authors: Minna Rantala, Maria Lindholm, Sari Tappura, Jouni Kivistö Rahnasto
Abstract: The use of the different kind of occupational health and safety risk assessment (OHS risk assessments) methods has become a standard procedure in the workplaces. A vast number of methods exist and some of them are even standardized. As an example, the prevailing practice in Finland has been to utilize the Workplace Risk Assessment Workbook, consisting of the hazard identification checklists and the risk matrix-based decision-making protocol. Even though OHS risk assessments are widely used in the workplaces, not much is known about the factors contributing to the success of the assessments nor are there definite criteria for a successful OHS risk assessment. Furthermore, previous studies show that often companies do nothing to assess the success of the risk assessments. In this study, a systematic literature review was carried out to determine the factors contributing to the success of the OHS risk assessment process. The research covers existing full text and peer-reviewed literature in Scopus and Web of Science databases. Due to the several and devastating accidents in the 1970s, which led to the need for international occupational health and safety standards, the literature review was extended to cover the past 50 years. References were loaded and duplicates were removed. All articles addressing the quality or success of the OHS risk assessment were selected. The PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) -flowchart was applied to describe the search process and the number of search results. In addition, the 16-item PRISMA for Searching (PRISMA-S) -checklist was applied when documenting and reporting the search. A complete list of the articles and findings will be presented at the conference. Preliminary results suggest that factors affecting the quality (including process factors and methodological factors as well as team and individual factors) of OHS risk assessment appear to be, for example, the design phase, the quality of the background information, the selected method, the identification of hazards, the accuracy of the frequency and consequence analysis, resources, the completeness of documentation and consultation and cooperation with relevant stakeholders. Some publications also adduced the importance of the composition of the OHS risk assessment team. Attention should be paid to the number of participants and how their knowledge and skills affect the results. In the literature, there were also studies from the early 1990s on the quality of risk analysis. (QUASA-method). It was suggested that the requirements for a safety analysis vary case by case and therefore the multiple sets of criteria are needed to cover all situations. The QUASA-method aimed to provide guidance for assessing the quality of the risk assessment process in different situations.
Keywords: success factor, risk assessment, evaluation, occupational health and safety
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