The Risk Assessment

Added value or something for the drawer?

Product safety
© deagreez / fotolia

© deagreez / fotolia

A well-known scenario:
A service employee stands in front of a machine to be repaired and thinks: "I have the operating manual, but there is nothing mentioned about the dangers inside the machine that I might encounter. I also have the Risk Assessment. There is something mentioned there about the dangers inside the machine. But I don't have the time to filter the exact information I need right now from hundreds of pages."

I've been working on the topic of Risk Assessment for 14 years now and very often wonder what happens after the completion of a Risk Assessment. I often hear: They end up in a drawer. The customer is not entitled to receive the Risk Assessment. Yes, this is correct. But aren't you just throwing valuable information in the dustbin? A smart mind has spent a great deal of time identifying hazards and minimising the identified risks, with a great deal of effort to normative specifications, and all within a three-step process. Only a fraction of this valuable information finds its way into the operating manual of the machine in question. Sure, we can find the safety instructions in the manual, the prescribed personal protective equipment, the personnel qualifications of the target audience, and any signs that may have even made it to the machine. But what about the valuable remainder? Especially since the Risk Assessment was even created using modular software. What about all the danger areas and risks that have been painstakingly documented? Many of them don't make the great leap into the operating manual because they're no longer worth mentioning – due to the measures taken to reduce risk for the operating instructions. It is therefore important to find a way to make this information, which is correct and understandable, useful and to make it available to a user in special situations. This brings us back to the ubiquitous buzzword smart.

Let's think about the idea of smart information transfer:
What if one provided the existing information bits in the Risk Assessment with the appropriate metadata, for example a PI Classification? After all, we work with Risk Assessment software, based on a Content Management System.

What would happen if, for example, with the aid of Augmented Reality and an information portal, exactly this information were to be made available to a completely different target audience, such as a service employee, mechanic, or mechatronics engineer, who has to "work his way through" to such a dangerous point – and the associated risk? He would then know exactly what to expect, holding only his smartphone or tablet in his hand. He could adapt his approach to the pending dangers and act instead of reacting. He would dramatically reduce his risk of injury ...

That's exactly what I mean by "smart" – and the road to such a solution-oriented presentation of information at exactly the right time surely can't be so rough. Let us think about it together!