How to pass the NEBOSH Risk Assessment Project – Part 3 (the trickiest bit?)

For the third part of the risk assessment project, you need to select 3 actions and then go on to explain why you’ve chosen those particular ones. They need to be your 3 highest priority actions. There is a specific process that you need to follow with this and the first part of that is to make sure you’re selecting actions from column 4, not hazards from column 1.

When making your selection, think about which actions address the hazards with the highest levels of risk. In the example that NEBOSH provides the actions that have been selected are:

  1. Purchase a mobile ‘bridge’ to allow mechanics to be able to safely access both sides of the inspection pit when working at ground level (hazard category ‘work at height’).
  2. Enclosed area to be set up for sanding/grinding operations including a suitable local exhaust ventilation system (hazard category ‘hazards substances’).
  3. Purchase of ‘on tool’ dust extraction systems (hazard category ‘hazardous substances’).

Once you’ve got your 3 highest priority actions selected, write a few paragraphs setting out persuasive moral and financial arguments and some general legal arguments as well. With the legal arguments, keep them general at this part (no need to refer to specific pieces of legislation yet) because the next part asks you to get very specific about your legal arguments where you will be required to refer to specific legislation.

After you’ve made your general arguments, the next part takes each of the 3 actions by themselves and asks you to continue making legal arguments, but in this part, you need to actually make reference to specific legal duties. So, taking NEBOSH’s first action as an example, the applicable legislation is the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the specific legal duties that are being used in the argument are Regulation 4, sub-parts a.) and b.). The regulation has not just been referred to though, there’s also some explanation provided as to how the unsafe acts and behaviours taking place in the workshop represent breaches of the regulation.

The next part is where you set out your thinking around likelihood and severity, ie., the level of risk. You’ll probably find it useful here to have a scale for each component of risk, ie., one for likelihood and one for severity. When thinking about likelihood, make sure you’re including things like how many people are at risk, how often the activity takes place and for how long as these will impact likelihood. With severity, think about the type of injury that would be sustained or the nature of the disease or illness that would be suffered. Again, you need to do this for each of the 3 actions you have chosen.

For the final bit of part 3 you need to explain 3 things:

  1. The intended impact of the action
  2. Why you gave the timescale you did
  3. Will the action fully control the risk?

I think number 1 is straightforward enough. If you run into problems explaining the timescale – maybe the timescale needs to be revised. With number 3, it might well be the case that an action control risk, even a robust and well-chosen one in isolation will not completely control the risk. It’s quite common for actions to control risk be used alongside other actions and work together to control risk, so don’t be worried about saying so in your answer. NEBOSH illustrate this in the examples they have provided.