Risk assessment is used to evaluate the possibility of hazards and their outcomes. This report concentrates on occupational hazards that may take place in the Qatar Civil Defence. It presents the principles and models of risk assessment, describes the activities of the organization, evaluates the possible risks for its workers, and suggests precautionary activities to eliminate them. The report concludes that the risk level is passable and that the organization performs measures needed to manage it.
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Managing Employees’ Safety
To perform occupational risk assessment, it is necessary to understand the definition and the principles of it. According to the Health and Safety Executive (2014), risk assessment is the process of identifying measures that can control the risks in the workplace. It is necessary to note that organizational risk assessment is crucial and serves several purposes. Its primary aim is to protect employees from severe outcomes of possible occupational risks (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work 2007). Moreover, it can improve the organization’s performance by creating a safe and positive working environment for individuals. It is evident that all employers should carry out the risk assignment regularly.
The Supported Place
- Company: Qatar Civil Defence
- Location: Doha, Qatar. The goal of the organization is to provide safety to the citizens of the country.
The services of the Qatar Civil Defence include security coverage, evacuation, theoretical and practical courses, and lectures, an inspection of organizational safety, installation of safety equipment, and issuing trading licenses for hazardous substances (MOI Qatar 2016b).
Moreover, the organization qualifies companies to install, distribute and test fire-extinguishing equipment and performs renewal of employment authorization cards for individuals that work in the field of gas and fuels. Security coverage involves providing assistance during public events, escorting vehicles that transfer hazardous materials, and maintaining operations at gas stations (MOI Qatar 2016b). Evacuation measures include not only rescuing activities but also emergency training for governmental and private organizations.
The risks for employees’ safety are determined by their tasks. According to MOI Qatar (2016a), the workers of the Qatar Civil Defence Department are involved in immediate interventions for disasters and the organization of the measures for emergency prevention. Moreover, they ensure the safety of the population in case of war and work with hazardous materials, toxic gases, and radiation. It is clear that such activities present threats for the employees and increase their stress levels, which can result in severe health outcomes. That is why it is necessary to assess the risks for the workers of the Qatar Civil Defence.
Steps to Carry Out the Risk Assessment
The process of risk assessment involves several significant steps aimed to ensure effective risk management in the future; there are several evaluation models organizations can utilize. For example, according to Aven (2016), the evaluation should begin with defining the purpose of risk management activities and specifying the criteria for them. For the Qatar Civil Defence, the goal of assessment is to ensure that employees remain safe while performing their duties.
The second step is to identify the hazards and threats associated with the activities that workers perform. It is evident that employees are required to follow the organization’s guidelines, which consider the challenging aspects of their work; however, some of their tasks may involve risks regardless of precautionary measures (Ministry of Interior, Qatar Civil Defense, Fire Prevention Department n.d.). The next step is to perform cause and consequences analysis, make judgments based on the likelihood of the events and describe the possible risks. The final step is to analyze the findings and evaluate the risks.
Another risk assessment model is suggested by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (2007), which will be used for this report as it provides a more detailed approach to the evaluation. According to it, the first step of assessment is the collection of available information. The necessary data may include the information about employees and those of them who may experience more exposure to hazards than others, for example, pregnant women or young workers (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work 2007).
Moreover, it is necessary to analyze what work equipment and materials are used, what tasks are performed, and the potential outcomes of existing hazards. The next two steps are the identification of hazards and the assessment of their risks, which requires the estimation of the severity of possible consequences. The fourth phase is planning the actions that can reduce the identified risks and the final step is to document the risk assessment.
Risk Assessment of the Occupational Hazards in Qatar Civil Defence
According to the report provided by MOI Qatar (n.d.), in 2010, the employees of the organization were involved in the management of 291 fire accidents and the provision of 130 rescue and relief services. The document does not report the number of workers harmed or died on duty. However, based on the activities that employees perform, it is possible to identify several types of hazards associated with their work. The first one is chemical hazards, such as intoxication and contamination, which are caused by toxic materials and substances, as well as radiation poisoning. The second type is psychological hazards associated with operating during catastrophes, disasters, and wars and caused by stress and violence. The last group of hazards is the ones related to the improper use of equipment, for example, fire extinguishers or ladders.
Evaluating the Risk
To evaluate the risks posed by the activities the organization performs, the risk matrix method was utilized (Ruge 2004). According to this model, the risk is evaluated based on its likelihood and severity of its consequences. The left column presents the likelihood of the event, while the bottom row addresses the severity of possible consequences. To evaluate the hazards, it is necessary to multiply the likelihood by consequences.
Ruge (2004) suggests the following interpretation of the risks:
(17-25) = the risk is undesirable; it is necessary to stop the activity and work on its elimination immediately
(10-16) = the risk is bearable; there is time to manage or eliminate it
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(5-9) = the risk is passable
(1-4)= the risk is acceptable and requires no further actions
It is evident that occupational risks for the employees of the Qatar Civil Defence may be defined within the 5-9 scale. The reason for it is that the organization does not report any cases of employees’ deaths related to their occupation, which shows that the likelihood of adverse outcomes is low; the estimated level is 1. However, the potential consequences associated with workers’ tasks may be severe, which means that the risk may equal 5. The result shows that the occupational risk for employees is passable.
Controlling the Risk of Hazard
The result of the evaluation is 5, which means that it is crucial to continue controlling the occupational risk for the workers of the Qatar Civil Defence. To do so, it is necessary to understand and utilize the model of the hierarchy of risks suggested by Maertz (2017) and presented in Figure 1. It is evident that the risks of hazards are under the control of the organization as there is no data about employees’ fatal injuries. Moreover, as it is a governmental organization, it is possible to expect that workers receive sufficient training and have personal protective equipment.
Precautionary Measures to Prevent Occupational Risks
As mentioned above, the occupational risks for the employees of the Qatar Civil Defence may include exposure to toxic materials and substances, radiation poisoning, stress, violence, and those associated with the improper use of equipment. There are several precautionary measures the organization may implement to prevent these incidents.
- Establish additional annual training programs for employees, which will address the possibility of the hazards and the methods of their management.
- Ensure that the personal equipment used by individuals is in good condition and meets legal requirements.
- Perform regular health assessment of employees, including the evaluation of their mental state.
The risk assessment findings show that the organizational management of possible occupational hazards for the employees is at a high level. The estimated score is 5, which indicates that the risk is passable. The recommended measures aimed to prevent further potential risks are the establishment of training programs, the utilization of new equipment that meets the requirements, and regular physical and mental health assessments of workers.
Aven, T 2016, ‘Risk assessment and risk management: review of recent advances on their foundation’, European Journal of Operational Research, vol. 253, no. 1, pp. 1-13.
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work 2007, Risk assessment tool. Web.
Health and Safety Executive 2014, Risk assessment: a brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace. Web.
Maertz, WJ 2017, Follow the hazards control hierarchy to reduce welding risks. Web.
Ministry of Interior, Qatar Civil Defense, Fire Prevention Department n.d., Qatar Guidelines for inspection, testing and maintenance of fire protection and life safety systems. Web.
MOI Qatar 2016a, قانون رقم ( 13 ) لسنة 1997م بشـأن الدفــاع المدنــي. Web.
MOI Qatar 2016b, كشـف الخـدمات التي تقدمها الإدارة العــامة للــدفاع المـدني. Web.
MOI Qatar n.d., Statistics. Web.
Ruge, B 2004. ‘Risk matrix as tool for risk assessment in the chemical process industries’, in C Spitzer, U Schmocker & VN Dang (eds), Probabilistic safety assessment and management, Springer, Berlin, Germany, pp. 2693-2698.