Fire Qualifications, General

What is a dynamic risk assessment?

Where have I heard this term before?

Ever seen a high-speed police pursuit on one of those tv shows? You might have noticed that the officers sometimes decide to abandon the pursuit and apprehend the criminal at another time. Why, and how, might this decision have been made? There comes a point where the risk of loss of life becomes too high, which is naturally considered worse than failing to apprehend the criminal. What you have seen here is a dynamic risk assessment being undertaken.

One of the most misused and misunderstood health and safety terms is the dynamic risk assessment. Today we’re going to think about what a dynamic risk assessment is and what a dynamic risk assessment isn’t.

Is it not just a specific type of risk assessment?

Now – if you employ five or more people, you’ll be recording your normal risk assessments for the tasks ordinarily completed by your employees. If there are any unique or unusual sites they’ll be working on, you’ll probably have taken the time to complete a site-specific risk assessment – or have given your employees the skills to record one (at the very least) in template form. These risk assessments should always be completed and recorded properly. They are not, however, dynamic risk assessments.

Additionally, pre-site checks and equipment pre-use checks to make sure the risk assessment suits the job are good measures, but are often mislabelled as dynamic risk assessments. Just because these tasks may not be recorded and might be done “on the fly” – this does not make them dynamic risk assessments.

So, what actually is it?

A dynamic risk assessment is just that – dynamic. It is a tool used for a rapidly evolving situation where the employee is faced with large amounts of information that could change in a split second. In these situations, employees need the training and the skill set to assimilate this information and modify their assessment of the risk accordingly.

Like the example of the police chase above, another high-risk situation where a dynamic risk assessment might be used is where the Fire and Rescue Service must attempt a rescue or enter a burning or unstable building. The situation is quickly evolving and there is no set risk assessment to dictate exactly how the fire will behave. The Fire Officer needs to make very quick assessments of the situation to complete his task.

Sounds really interesting…

If you’d like to learn more about the tools used in fire safety alongside dynamic risk assessments, be sure to register your interest for our upcoming Level 3 Award in Fire Safety Management – or, if you fancy a challenge, why don’t you think about our upcoming Level 6 Diploma in Fire Risk Assessment? Call our wonderful Student Support Team today on 01244 956 990 to find out more.

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