What is Risk Profiling?
Risk profiling examines the nature and levels of threats faced by an organisation. It examines the likelihood of adverse effects occurring, the level of disruption and costs associated with each type of risk. The effectiveness of the current control measures is also considered.
Effective leaders and line managers know the risks their organisations face, rank them in order of importance and take action to control them.
The risk profile of an organisation informs all aspects of the approach to leading and managing its health and safety risks.
Every organisation will have its own risk profile. This is the starting point for determining the greatest health and safety issues for the organisation. Some organisations will face tangible and immediate safety issues, such as machine guarding. Other organisations, however, may experience health-related risks that may take a long time before the illness becomes apparent. Degrading plant integrity could also lead to later emerging risks.
Health and safety risks also range from things that happen very infrequently but with catastrophic effects (high-hazard, low-frequency events, such as an oil refinery explosion) to things that happen much more frequently but with lesser consequences (low-hazard, high-frequency events).
Clearly, the high-hazard, low-frequency example could destroy the business and would be high-priority in a risk profile.
What does a risk profile examine?
A risk profile examines:
- the nature and level of the threats faced by an organisation
- the likelihood of adverse effects occurring
- the level of disruption and costs associated with each type of risk
- the effectiveness of controls in place to manage those risks
Risk profiling will identify and prioritise the right risks for action and prevent minor risks from being given too much priority. Additionally, it will inform decisions about the necessary risk control measures. The organisation’s leader(s) should oversee the risk profiling process to remain aware of major risks, avoid excessive prioritisation of minor risks, and prevent the oversight of significant risks.
Managers should review the organisation’s risk profile regularly. Change within the organisation will affect the risk profile, e.g. during economic cycles such as recession and recovery, when there is an increase in workload, or when experience levels drop. They should also ensure that workers understand the organisation’s risk profile and have the necessary information, instruction and training to deal with the risks that have been identified.