Manage the risk of hazards

Hazards might threaten people when they use or deliver your service. It is your responsibility to keep them safe when using your service, so you should be aware of the hazards, their potential impact and have a plan for how to manage the risk.

When to do it

Do this before you start to design and prototype the ideas for you service and return to update it regularly throughout the life of your service.

How to do it

You should:

  • read and follow the guidance from your national health and safety authority

  • list all of the hazardous situations

  • analyse the risk by considering vulnerability and likelihood

  • assess what is available to support you in addressing the risk

  • plan how to manage the risk

Try this activity

The purpose of the activity is to plan how to mitigate hazards they may threaten people that user or deliver your service. It will give you an action plan for mitigating threats. You should read and follow the guidance from your national health and safety authority; this activity is only illustrative and should not determine how you manage the threat of hazards in your location.

Time, space and materials

  • 30 minutes

  • any space with a wall, sticky notes, paper, and pens for a face-to-face event

  • or for a remote event use a video conference and online whiteboard that will take the place of the wall and enable participants to add and move online ‘sticky notes’

People to include

  • people who user or deliver of your policy, product or service

  • you may also want to run this activity with frontline staff and subject matter experts, but you should always validate their perception of hazards with users

  • a facilitator to give the instructions

Instructions

The purpose of the activity is to understand what may threaten those who use or deliver your service and what you might do to keep them safe.

  1. List all of the hazards that could affect people when using or delivering the service. The hazards should be specific to different types of people and places. Write down each hazard on a separate sticky note.

  2. Create a vertical line. At the top of the line, write ‘high vulnerability’ and at the bottom of the line, write ‘low vulnerability’. Order the sticky notes in a single vertical column. Think about the effect that the hazard will have on people: will it permanently affect their health, temporarily affect their health or have a lesser effect. You have 5 minutes.

  3. Create a horizontal line across the middle. On the left of the line, write ‘unlikely’ and on the right of the line, write ‘likely’. Order the sticky notes horizontally without changing their vertical position. You have 5 minutes.

  4. Starting in the top-right corner and moving towards the bottom-left corner, write actions that could be taken to mitigate the hazard. For each action think about what people and material resources are available to mitigate the hazard.

Tips

  • you must read and follow the guidance from your national health and safety authority

  • where there are hazards in the top-right (high vulnerability and likely), you should decide if your work is essential. If it is not, then don’t do it

  • where there are hazards in the top-left (high vulnerability and unlikely), you might consider if there are other people available to deliver the service who have better capability or capacity to work in the hazardous situation

  • when considering the impact on people’s health you might also consider the impact on their wellbeing

  • some places are vulnerable to hazards, like a water sanitation centre. You should list all of these but frame them as risks to people

  • hazards will effect some vulnerable types of people more, like the elderly or young. Where this is the case, then separately list and manage the hazard for each vulnerable group

Next steps

  • use this information to help design and prototype the ideas for you service

  • once you are ready to prototype your service you should update this plan and return to update it regularly throughout the life of your service

Further reading

Find out more about this topic by searching the internet for: