What risk are you willing to take?

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What risk are you willing to take?

The word “risk” comes from “risicare”, which means “to dare”. How much risk do you dare to have in your workplace? The question is becoming ever more relevant in the current climate, which shows that risk is about far more than physical dangers. Have you taken the measures you can to create a safe workplace?

This year’s Occupational Health Report shows that 30% of respondents have experienced dangerous, frightening or unpleasant incidents at work over the past year. 37% of this group have experienced incidents related to violence or intimidation. In keeping with recent research and other surveys, Stamina’s findings show that employees in the public sector are vulnerable, and women in particular.

“The findings are as expected. People working in healthcare, child and youth care, and social services are particularly exposed to this kind of incident. As long as a job involves other human beings the risk cannot be eliminated completely, so it is especially important that the risk is known. Only then can systematic preventive actions be taken,” says Tone Berit Pedersen, Special Advisor at Stamina health.

A risk assessment is the core of systematic HSE work, and is necessary to gain an overview and a foundation for planning and prioritising measures. This is important to the individual employee, to the organisation’s productivity, and in reducing sick leave/costs following incidents. If possible, the risk should be removed. If this is not possible, solid measures must be put in place to prevent the risk from becoming a reality, or to mitigate the consequences.

Many businesses may have solid measures but they are not documented. In this case a risk assessment can be done to document everything that’s actually in place. The assessment can then be used as a foundation for training new recruits.

“Say the word ‘risk’ and many people think about immediate physical dangers, but it’s just as important to consider whether the risk of violence and intimidation, a heavy workload or poor work posture could cause injuries or health problems among employees,” Pedersen explains.

60% of people who have experienced dangerous, frightening or unpleasant incidents in a work context say that the management were aware of what was going on. But what about the other 40%? How can an organisation work towards a decent working environment when the person in charge is not made aware of the circumstances that cause incidents to arise?

The findings of the Occupational Health Report may indicate that there is a need for better routines for communicating and following up nonconformities, incidents, injuries and health problems. A good system of nonconformity management provides the basis for taking action before a serious incident occurs.

“Good systems help to ensure that preventive work leads to continuous improvement,” Pedersen concludes.

Have you experienced dangerous, frightening or unpleasant events in a work context in the past 12 months?

 

Total

M

W

Public

Private

No

71%

74%

68%

63%

77%

One or more times

27%

24%

31%

45%

22%

Often

2%

2%

1%

2%

1%

Were the incidents linked to violence or intimidation?

 

Total

M

W

Public

Private

Yes

37%

32%

42%

52%

19%

No

63%

68%

59%

48%

81%



A risk assessment

is an identification of what could cause injury or illness in your workplace so that you can consider whether you have taken adequate precautions or whether you need to undertake further preventative work.

The aim is for no one to become injured or ill.

New regulations

On 1 January 2017, new regulations on violence and intimidation came into force in Norway with the Regulations concerning the Performance of Work, chapter 23A. It outlines the requirements on risk assessment, training, information, actions and follow-up after an incident. 

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