Skip to main content

Task Risk Assessment

there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to identify and manage hazards

When it comes to risk management, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to identify and manage hazards. The chosen assessment method should align with the desired output based on the stage at which the assessment is undertaken. It is essential to start risk management and risk assessment processes as early as possible.

What is TRA

Task Risk Assessment (TRA) is developed to identify localised hazards for specific tasks. Once the hazard and effect are known, control measures can be applied.

There are similarities with the process and format of TRA when compared to HIRA. HIRA scope extends to groups or sequences of operations that combine to form a process whereas TRA looks at a specific element that may or may not be part of the HIRA process. Example HIRA is completed for an activity or sequence involving a winch, a frame, connecting rigging arrangement, personnel placement, pull in / payout of an object, pull force etc. A TRA should be conducted specific to the winch assessing e.g. maintenance activities, access, noise, contact with moving parts etc. that are unlikely to be assessed within the HIRA. TRA can go further and assess each of the above as separate topics.

TRA uses probability and consequence to ascertain an acceptable level for work to progress. The probability, consequence, and risk acceptance level are re-assessed to provide a residual risk value once control measures have been identified. If the residual risk value is within acceptance levels, work can proceed observing the control measures.

When to Use TRA

If your risk assessment is used onsite to identify and manage hazards, then TRA is a logical choice. The TRA is developed with, and for the end user, and should be considered as an activity specific assessment.

TRA can be implemented as a stand-alone risk assessment method or as a follow on from HIRA. TRA should not be considered if procedural changes are likely to be required as the hazards and control measures identified and implemented should be able to be managed at an operational level at the worksite.

As with any risk assessment method, a review of identified hazards and control measures noted in the assessment should be completed as routine and/or following an incident or a change in conditions.

TRA Purpose

TRA is used to identify hazards inherent in a specific activity/task. Once a hazard is identified control measures can be implemented to reduce the consequence and/or the probability of the hazard event.

Controls follow a hierarchy and prioritise actions in the sequence shown below.

TRA Scope

Identification and qualification of hazards is the objective with equal attention given to identification of control measures to reduce the risk value to an acceptable level to allow work to commence.

Control measures that can be implemented locally should take preference. If more significant control measures are required that result in re-engineering or procedural change they must be noted and implemented prior to the activity commencing.

All activities/tasks, associated hazards, qualitative assessment and control measures must be recorded onto an agreed TRA worksheet.

TRA Output

TRA will determine if it is acceptable to undertake each activity/task noted in the worksheet based on the control measures and risk acceptance levels.

TRA Format

TRA should be recorded into a tabular worksheet using predefined headings. TRA can be worked on by any number of people, having a worksheet that is accessible and easy to edit is important.

The TRA worksheet should be formatted to follow a simple 5 step process:

  • Identify the hazard (in the task).
  • Decide who might be harmed and how.
  • Evaluate the risk and decide whether existing control measures are adequate or if more should be done.
  • Record your findings.
  • Review and re-asses as required.

It is critical to have an agreed Risk Classification Matrix which defines the levels for consequence, probability and the ‘at risk’ categories. The Risk Classification Matrix should be used to assign a risk value (generally low, medium, or high) following the selection of consequence and probability. The risk value should be defined by Risk Acceptance Levels (what is low, medium, or high and what is acceptable). Control measures (existing or proposed) need to be documented and the risk value re-assessed after the implementation of the control measure to see if the risk acceptance level has changed to a more acceptable level.

The Risk Classification Matrix should be included with the TRA worksheet to enable ongoing assessment and to enable those using the assessment to understand the values selected in the worksheet.

The responsible party should be noted, and the status of the action marked as Open or Closed. The status can be marked as Ongoing if the measures noted are to be implemented during the activity or will continue to be managed as the activity progresses.

It is a good idea to have provision for notes/comments related to the TRA. This could be specific information that needs to be communicated to those using the TRA.

Completing a TRA

TRA can be prepared by an individual or collectively by a group directly involved with the task being assessed. If the TRA is prepared by an individual it is essential that it is reviewed and approved for use by another person who understands the task and associated hazards.

If TRA is a collective effort, those involved in the task should be consulted and the TRA drafted accordingly. TRA completed in this manner should be informal with 1x person taking responsibility for writing the assessment into the agreed format.

It is likely that a number of ‘normal practices’ will be sited as control measures. Ensure that focus on these areas does not come at the expense of identifying the not so obvious hazards and control measures. Focus is often placed on reducing the probability levels when undertaking TRA, this is a sound approach but don’t overlook opportunities to reduce consequence levels if practical to do so.

TRA control measures such as ‘Wear PPE’ or ‘Use Gloves’ have limited value to the end user. For an operator working on a site this isn’t sufficient unless there is specific guidance/instruction provided to which PPE to wear or gloves to use for the specified activity. Control measures need to be specific enough to add value and ensure that there is no confusion or misunderstanding whilst not being so complex that they cannot be followed.

TRA can be created as generic with the assessment written for standard or repeat activities where the methods of work do not change. Generic TRA are perfectly acceptable providing the assessment is relative to the task, conditions, personnel etc. Generic TRA should be subject to regular review at pre-determined intervals to ensure the content remains current.

If the chosen format for TRA allows, you can utilise the TRA worksheet to formulate the TRA like a Safe Job Analysis (SJA) with the task/activity equating to the SJA steps.

As with any risk assessment method do not accept using lesser controls if they do not adequately manage the hazard and are not proportionate to the identified risk.

TRA Report & Tracking

It is unlikely that a report following a TRA will be required. The TRA output is the TRA worksheet. All TRA should be approved with a review date agreed based on the frequency of change that is known or expected with the TRA subject matter.

Before commencing work: TRA can be completed just prior to starting work when those involved in the task are present/ Generic TRA can be reviewed/discussed with those involved as an element of a briefing such as a toolbox talk.

Retrospective review of existing tasks: Utilise TRA to assess what you already have in place to ensure it is effective and current. Update and implement improvements to activities as planned/unplanned workplace changes occur and ensure that generic TRA remain suitable.

Changes in existing processes/methods or following an incident: TRA can be completed as a targeted review of existing control measures following incidents or near-misses. If a task has changed, ensure the TRA is update with the control measures reflecting the changes in the task.

Specific task hazard identification from personnel who are experienced in undertaking the intended task. Those personnel understand the operating procedures, method statements, and known operational activities and parameters.

Identify potential harm and who or what could be ‘At Risk’. Reduce the probability and/or consequence of harm. Update control measures based on findings from the TRA. Implement detailed mitigation strategies for specific tasks. Agree upon and document PPE/safety precautions. When required work instructions for enhanced safety when a safer method is identified. Achieve improved safety in operational activities.

RISKUL offers a comprehensive suite of risk assessment and risk management tools, comprising five distinct methodologies organised in a hierarchy. The RISKUL TRA tool incorporates over 40 specific design and functionality features that are exclusive to RISKUL.

In addition to TRA, RISKUL encompasses other essential risk assessment methods, including HAZID, HAZOP, HIRA, and Risk Register. Each methodology provides unique insights and approaches to effectively identify, analyse, and mitigate risks.

We invite you to experience the benefits of RISKUL by taking advantage of our 30-day free trial. Alternatively, feel free to reach out to us for a consultation to explore how RISKUL can revolutionise your organisations risk management practices. Discover the power of RISKUL and elevate your approach to risk management.
Detailed & Simple

Begin Your 30 Day Free Trial

We’ll Get You Set Up Right Away – No Credit Card or Payment Info Needed

Get your 30 Day Free Trial Today