Key to learning how risk assessment and feasible risk reduction work together is to undergo experiential learning. This is similar to learning how to drive a car, learn a sport or a hobby. We learn by experience. Slides and presentation add value only after participants have had first-hand experience using the process on the factory floor.
The process is simple but it’s not easy because we have become so accustomed to complex processes and methods.
After undergoing a couple of risk assessments using a clipboard to capture the detailed steps of a task with input from experienced workers, participants gain both the competence and confidence that continued practice will allow them to do this on their own following training.
A typical “Train the Trainer” process is a 1½-day learning session described below:
- Brief Introduction and Overview of the session, including description of Task Based Risk Assessment (TaBRA) and feasible Risk Reduction.TaBRA is a methodology designed to capture all the steps of a defined task by asking the worker to share his / her experience in performing the task. This method is based upon lean thinking and application, a foundation for the entire course.
- Teams of three management personnel going to the factory floor to perform TaBRA with hourly workers
- Brief introduction of what, why and how to set the worker at ease
- Management rotates the “scribe position” so that each team member gains hands-on experience
- Return to meeting room and debrief
- Presentation on risk assessment and feasible risk reduction
- Participants better understand the reason why risk assessment must precede the determination of feasible risk reduction methods based upon the hazard control hierarchy
The above is repeated numerous times allowing adult learners to share their views and ask more questions.
Training is based upon the principles of management offered by Dr. W. Edwards Deming and his continuous improvement model of Plan-Do-Check-Act. Participants engage in planning next steps, doing what was planned and then checking their learning. It is typical to gravitate from production operator tasks to the more complex maintenance tasks. Importantly, management learners begin to fully understand not only the hazards and risks facing workers, but also the inherent waste in some tasks.
TaBRA is an excellent tool for improving not only safety, but operational performance and quality as well because TaBRA proves “the devil is in the detail.” Of even greater importance, risk assessment is the foundation for applying the Hierarchy of Hazard Control in order to identify feasible risk reduction. Guidance from the US National Standards for general industry machine safety provide the necessary guidance for deciding when “enough is enough” for machine safeguarding. Risk assessment facilitates arriving at an acceptable level of risk for a given task, as defined by ANSI B11.0.
3.1 Acceptable risk: A risk level achieved after risk reduction measures have been applied. It is a risk level that is accepted for a given task (hazardous situation) or hazard. For the purpose of this standard, the terms “acceptable risk” and “tolerable risk” are considered to be synonymous.
Informative Note 1: The expression “acceptable risk” usually, but not always, refers to the level at which further technologically, functionally and financially feasible risk reduction measures or additional expenditure of resources will not result in significant reduction in risk.
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