Dynamic Risk Assessment - The Benefits for Lone Workers
In our News Roundup last week we reported on a story from SHP (Safety and Health Practitioner) magazine about the benefits of Dynamic Risk Assessment (DRA) training for lone workers. Dynamic Risk Assessment is a reactive method of risk assessment which is spontaneous. It’s carried out on the spot at any given time, depending on the specific circumstances of any individual situation. For example, a lone worker carrying out a home visit in the field arrives at their destination but something about the situation makes them feel uncomfortable or uneasy. Being able to carry out a Dynamic Risk Assessment would give the worker the tools they need to react in a way which keeps them safe.
DRA enables the worker to manage risk during an experience, a useful option as it’s not always possible to identify every hazard ahead of time. DRA is a tool that can be used by lone workers to increase awareness and notice potential risks so that they are being proactive about their safety at all times.
Employers should not just rely on the common sense of their employees – they should be properly trained in keeping themselves safe when out in the field. While the health, safety and well-being of employees is the responsibility of the employer, every employee also has a responsibility towards him/herself and colleagues and clients. DRA training will provide lone workers with the confidence they need to make informed and sensible decisions about safety whilst out working in the field. Being proactive about their own safety can be as simple as letting somebody know exactly where they are going and what time they expect to be back.
One of the strategies learned during DRA training is PET analysis (People, Environment, Task) which consists of the following elements:
PEOPLE – This asks the workers to consider what they already know about the people they plan to come into contact with and to include in their assessment:
· What do I know about this person?
· What mood are they likely to be in?
· Am I working on my own?
· Do they have a history of aggression?
· What does their tone of voice and body language tell me?
· Is their behaviour changing unexpectedly?
· How confident and competent do I feel?
ENVIRONMENT – workers need to take into the account the environment in which they are working and use their situational awareness to continually assess their surroundings:
· What about the environment makes me vulnerable?
· Can I get out quickly if necessary?
· What could be used as a weapon against me?
· Whose territory is this and how does this affect the dynamics?
· Am I isolated from colleagues?
TASK – Assessing the task they are undertaking helps lone workers to identify triggers that could increase the likelihood of aggression or other risk:
· What am I doing that could result in aggression?
· Am I enforcing rules or asking the person to do something they object to?
· Am I asking difficult questions or delivering bad news?
· Am I carrying/handling cash or valuables?
· Am I invading anybody’s personal space?
· Am I assessing for the provision or denial of a service?