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Risk assessment: How to determine adequate risk reduction?
In an earlier article the process of risk assessment is described. In this process it is necessary to determine whether adequate risk reduction has been achieved. That triggers the question: “What is adequate risk reduction”?
Risk index In the risk estimation phase of the risk assessment, a risk matrix can be used to determine a ‘risk index’. This risk index is a value that corresponds to the seriousness of the risk.
A low risk index however doesn’t mean that no risk reduction is necessary:
• If a requirement that reduces this risk is described in the machinery directive 2006/42/EC Annex I, this requirement must be met, even when the risk index is not high.
• The risk index is a measure for the effort you need to make to reduce the risk further. A large risk index requires a lot of effort, while a low risk index requires less effort. So if a risk with a low risk index can be reduced easily, with little effort, you need to apply this risk reduction measure.
Standards Standards define how adequate risk reduction is achieved with current state of the art solutions.
Complying with these standards results in a presumption of conformity with the applicable regulation and with that result in a presumption that adequate risk reduction has been achieved.
Comparison of risks
By comparing the machine with similar machines that are generally accepted as ‘safe’, adequate risk reduction can also be determined.
Caution needs to be taken when doing this:
• Is the machine really similar? (Materials to be processed, environmental conditions, competence of operators)
• Has progress of technology lead to solutions that can be used to reduce the risk in this new machine? (Car seat belts were not common approximately 50 years ago)
Adequate risk reduction
Determining adequate risk reduction requires a lot of experience and knowledge of commonly used solutions. It is advised to consult an expert when in doubt.
When you need assistance in determining whether adequate risk reduction has been achieved, feel free to contact BKL Engineering.