Risk management is an integral part of good management practice. It is an iterative or continuous improvement process, consisting of steps undertaken in sequence, to enable continual improvement.
Risk management – advantages
The main advantages of risk management are that it:
- is a consistent, auditable record of the reasons and rationale for decisions taken
- is a logical way to review the operation and assess which critical areas require further investigation
- allows monitoring of critical risk factors
- is a way to achieve sustained compliance with legislative requirements.
Development of risk management plans
Many organisations with more complicated systems will decide to engage third parties, such as consultant engineers and water treatment specialists, to perform a risk assessment, and develop the RMP and a risk-based maintenance program. Additional assistance can also be sought to manage operation of the cooling tower system. The risk assessment for a highly complex system can best be performed in consultation with people such as:
- system designers
- cooling tower suppliers
- mechanical services maintenance contractors
- water treatment providers
- mechanical engineers
- occupational hygienists
- building and system owners.
In the absence of on-site expertise, it is essential that specialists in the treatment of cooling tower systems are engaged to provide and monitor appropriate water treatment.
The key competencies for individuals involved in the development of an RMP include an understanding of:
- system design and components
- water chemistry and water treatment principles, including corrosion control
- risk management principles.
As with all outsourcing of services, it is important to confirm that contractors hold adequate professional and public liability insurance.
Risk management – integration with quality assurance programs
Many organisations follow formal quality assurance programs such as the ISO 9000 series (Quality management systems), the ISO 14000 series (Environmental management systems) and AS 4804 (Occupational health and safety management systems). Where appropriate, development of an RMP should ideally be integrated into these programs. Businesses considering this approach should note that it may make the auditing of the RMP more complex than if it were a separate document.
This guide follows a typical risk management approach:
- establishing the context (strategic, organisational, risk management, risk evaluation criteria)
- identifying risks
- analysing risks
- evaluating risks
- treating risks
- monitoring and review
- communication and consultation.
SafetyMAP (4) is an audit tool designed to assist organisations of all sizes and functions to improve their management of health and safety. The audit criteria within SafetyMAP enable an organisation to:
- measure the performance of health and safety programs
- implement a cycle of continuous improvement
- benchmark its health and safety performance
- gain recognition for the standards achieved by its health and safety management system.
In the ‘Self-assessment user guide’ for the initial level of SafetyMAP, cooling tower systems should be included in the risk assessment, since they are a potential hazard. Cooling tower systems must be assessed and should have documented control measures.
4. WorkSafe Victoria SafetyMAP