Broadly speaking, a workplace risk assessment can be defined as an effort that comprises identifying and analyzing potential adverse events that may influence people, assets, or/ and the environment. To conduct a risk assessment is to make judgments on the tolerability of the risk while considering all contributing factors and trade-offs to be made. The last step is the determination of appropriate and adequate ways to eliminate or, at least, mitigate risks (risk control) in the workplace. Harry Greens Supply Company is an Irish company that may need a comprehensive risk assessment to promote workplace health and safety. This essay identifies the workplace risks associated with Harry Greens Supply Company and develops critical strategies to counter and reduce the said risks.
Ireland has yet to reduce the non-fatal workplace injuries and fatality rates, and the success of achieving this ambitious goal is contingent on each employer’s personal effort to assess and mitigate risks. As reported by the Health and Safety Authority (2016), in 2016 alone, Ireland saw 8,381 non-fatal injuries, which was a small increase from 2015. The estimated number of workdays lost due to sick leaves resulting from a work-related injury amounted to 810,899, up from 750,011 in 2014. Health and Safety Authority (2016) names the accommodation and food services sector as one of the most traumatic industries, with the non-fatal work-related injury rates reaching 25 per 1,000 workers.
The source states that while some triggers remain stable (loss of control of transport or equipment, aggression), others result from recent economic trends. The downside of increased employment that Ireland has been seeing lately is inexperienced recruits, higher work intensity, and excessive working hours (Taylor 2019). Risk assessment allows for identifying factors in the real situation. It saves money lost to sick leaves and preserves the reputation of not only a particular company but also the entire sector. When risks are mitigated, workers enjoy better health and uphold positive morale in the workplace, which is conducive to better performance.
Identification of Safety Issues
Risk assessment at Henry Greens Supply Company enabled the identification of the four following workplace hazards:
- Drivers’ fatigue due to high workload and predominantly working alone. The hazard implies risks as follows:
- road accidents and endangering oneself and others. The European Commission on Mobility and Transport (2020) reports that in the United Kingdom, 10% of crashes can be explained by the driver’s sleepiness and fatigue;
- having no one to contact in case of an emergency;
- aggressive behavior due to fatigue and starting conflicts with colleagues and customers;
- Employees have to do strenuous work and heavy lifting. Risks:
- developing back pain and suffering from back injuries. The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (2020) names low back injuries as one of the most common work-related conditions affecting 30% of all EU workers;
- money loss due to sick leaves;
- losing qualified cadres because of poor workplace health and safety culture.
- Slippery and sloppy grounds may lead to:
- injuries such as breaking bones and joint dislocation.
- A poor waste management system may result in:
- Spread of waterborne diseases;
- Employees spreading infections and taking sick leaves.
One of the most manageable hazards from the list above is drivers’ fatigue due to high workload and driving alone. The scenario of drivers delivering products alone is highly manageable. The organization is considering hiring assistant drivers so that they can substitute for each other on the road. Additionally, they can help each other with strenuous manual labor unloading trucks. The measures would help with serious risks, such as crashes and road accidents, to milder risks, such as hurt reputation due to conflicts with customers.
Comprehensive Analysis of Findings and Logical Conclusion
The risk assessment showed that the risks that Henry Greens Supply Company is facing stem from a variety of sources. Some of them have to do with infrastructures, such as the waste management system and the working grounds. Others rather relate to poor human resources management that puts too much workload on workers. The company will likely need to make profound structural changes to prevent risks instead of handling the consequences. Hiring more drivers is a good start to reducing drivers’ fatigue and the back pain incidence rate. Grounds need to be renovated to make them safer, and taking care of the waste management system will prove to be a long-term investment in the health of the workers.
Risk assessment is important because even within the same sector, companies face diverse risks and have varying needs. Aside from that, some risks follow the ever-changing economic and job market trends, which is why regular risk assessment is necessary. Risk analysis has shown that when addressing risks, a company has to make trade-offs. For instance, keeping the number of drivers low yields short-term benefits because it means fewer expenses in remuneration. However, ignoring drivers’ fatigue may lead not only to low morale but also potential road accidents, which is why a trade-off between budgeting and safety must be made.
Health and Safety Authority 2016. Summary of workplace injury, illness and fatality statistics. Web.
Taylor, C 2019. The economy and full employment: are we there yet?. The Irish Times. Web.
The European Commission on Mobility and Transport 2020. Frequency of fatigue-related crashes. Web.
The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health 2020, Research on work-related low back disorders. Web.