On the benefits of risk assessment for improving workplace safety

More and more companies are coming to realize the advantages of including the evaluation of individual risk factors in their overall risk assessment programmes. This makes it possible to ascertain the effectiveness of safety measures. It also facilitates sustainable economic activity, since cost-intensive safety measures are normally only necessary in high-risk situations. Risk assessment has also proved useful for demonstrating legally compliant operation. Even after a serious accident, those responsible for workplace safety cannot be accused of negligence as long as they can show that they considered the potential severity of damage occurrence in defining requisite safety measures – even if they ultimately erred in their judgement of the measures‘ efficacy.

1 Introduction

Ever since the German Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1996 was adopted, companies have been conducting “workplace assessments” for their employees. In many cases, it was noticed that supplementary safety measures were needed in order to achieve legally compliant operation. As a rule, such measures entail corresponding expenditures. If they remain unimplemented, even though they were recognized as necessary, and a serious accident occurs, legal problems are likely to arise. In order to reasonably meet the pertinent requirements, legally appropriate, economically viable risk...

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