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How can we make a clear distinction between a successful assessment of safety at workplaces and a failed one? The next table gives some indications- that are just orientated. Anyhow, you must consider that a safety assessment gives you very seldom an absolute result.

Table.1 Good vs. failes assessment
Good assessment
Failed assessment
It gives you the necessary information to make specific decisions and to develop improvement plans.
It is very categorical. It could be excellent- and in this case you should be very cautious- because nothing is excellent in industry- or could be very worse.
It gives you a risk level that you could use in benchmarking.
Gives a very impressive figure (regarding the risk level) that could not be used, says nothing and could be contested.
Includes all the technical details needed.
Approximates a lot, not including specific activities that are done at the workplace. This non-inclusion is a proof that the assessors are not very expert in their job.
Gives you preliminary reports regarding the workplaces being assessed and a final, consolidated report
Gives a generic report

It is possible to give a mark to the safety assessment job done by the external assessor, using the following table. If you are satisfied with the item- give 1- if not- gives correspondingly between 0 and 1.

Table 2. How to assess an assessment ?
Actual mark
1. Componence of the assessment team- no more than 6 persons if the enterprise is SME

2. Competence of the assessment team- at least 1 certified assessor with minimum 15 assessments done. At least one of the team members should be an engineer. If you have specific processes at least one member of the team should be an expert regarding those processes

3.Accreditation of the assessment company and the assessment team with the Public Authorities like the Work Inspection .All of the work being done in a safety assessment should be compliant with the Public Authority rules and should be certified (when needed) by them

4. Existence of safety assessment written procedures- that could be eventually be completed taking into account the characteristics of the assessed workplaces

5. Level of information and explanation given by the assessment team to those from the assessed workplaces that are involved in the assessment

6. Level of information and explanation given by the safety assessment team

7.Exhaustive check-lists for the main objects at workplace

8. Accurate description of the situation at workplace assessed- as to motivate the assessment

9.Logical and easy to use formula and notation for the global risk level

10. Correlation of the safety assessment results with the opinions of employee representative and top management


For example- if the safety audit performed by the external firm is not approved by the top management, or by the employee representatives- there are some serious problems in the assessment and even if it is re-developed there should be given here 0 points.
Safety assessments with less than 7 points are highly contestable and the company should be asked to re-work or to mitigate the vulnerable points.


Depending on the complexity of the workplace, the primary safety assessment team could be composed by 1-6 persons.
Larger teams could be used for complex facilities. However, they became difficult to manage.
There should be always a team leader- generally the best assessor or the external assessor if we are working in a mixed team.
The team leader- or safety auditor as he appears in figure 1- should have as the main qualities:
A. a high level education- preferably in engineering;
B. at least 5 years working as safety assessor;
C. at least 15 safety assessments conducted by himself/herself;
D. good management qualities;
E. to be certified by a recognized organism;
F. capability of working long hours;
The difference in composing assessment teams is given by the complexity of the job to be done. The next table is showing this aspect.  The number and the participants are the results from our experience in safety assessment.

Table 3. Safety assessment team according to the type of workplace
Workplace type
Safety assessment team
1-2 workers. Basic technical  equipment
1 person-  the safety auditor (external)
3-10 workers. Technical equipment with a reasonable degree off complexity.
2 persons. The safety auditor + one employee from the workplace that has the best experience and is safety committed.
More than 10 workers and/or equipment that are very hazardous  with risk not just over the workplace but also on the facility and outside the facility
3-6 persons. The safety auditor +employee+ supervisor or line manager+2 experts +stakeholder

The safety auditor is essential in the assessment. However, our experience shows that when   the workplace is medium or large- in order to assure the maximum objectivity of the assessment- it is the best solution to add more members to the team.
When the workplace is medium-> large- the presence of one or more employees with the best working experience could be very helpful in assessing safety.
When the workplace is definitely large- the assessment team should be also completed with the supervisor/line manager that is directly responsible for the assessed workplace. Beyond the knowledge of the experienced worker the supervisor could give some hints about the quality of the management for this specific workplace. The continuous interaction between the safety auditor, the employee and the chief of the workplace would also lead towards a more efficient and objective assessment and also towards quick development for plans of improvement- if these are needed. A complete schema of the safety assessment team is given below.
Here also are finding places the experts in the field of activity plus a representative of the stakeholders. The safety assessment is not exactly a secret- so the participation of more people could improve (if managed well) the process of safety assessment.
The ideal team- from an external assessor- is presented in the figure 1.

Figure 1. The external safety assessment team

A mixed team- with one safety assessor that could be external- but not necessary- is presented in figure 2. 

Figure 2 The mixed safety assessment team

The figure shows that in the final assessment- the mixed team could be completed with 1-2 experts- generally technical experts that could give advice regarding the equipment used, the safety devices and the facility that is assessed and also by a representative of the stakeholders- if the enterprise has such stakeholders. The presence of the stakeholder representative is very important if the safety audit /assessment show that there are important changes to be made and serious resources should be involved. 


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