Field Risk Assessment (FRA) is the process by which estimates of the risk involved in various field activities can be generated. The purpose of estimating risk is to allow the informed selection of a combination of procedures and tools that keep the risk to a tolerable level at any given worksite. This TN deals with the process of FRA for demining and BAC. The principles may also be applied to field risk assessments conducted for EOD tasks.
In this context, field risks are determined by assessing the probability of an unintended detonation occurring and the severity of the consequences of that event. The ultimate purpose of a FRA is not the reduction of risk, which may be very low anyway, but the assessment of the varied risks involved in various combinations of hazard, procedures and tools that may be at a worksite.
No human activities are risk-free, so risk cannot be totally eliminated. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that planning procedures are in place to ensue that the risk to employees and end-users is at a tolerable level. This requires decision-making tools that support the task planning process and provide a semi-qualitative method of FRA. Traditional technological risk analysis methods provide the framework for these tools, overlaid with field experience and evidence drawn from accident records. After detailed field risk assessments have been made, risk management decisions can be made.
The risks covered in a FRA are not only concerned with the Health and Safety risks to the employees. In humanitarian demining, the aim is to release suspected land, in an acceptable state, to the end users and so the primary risk that is to be kept to a tolerable level is the risk of leaving mines or ERW behind. The secondary risk, and that which is assessed here, is the risk of unintended detonations causing injury or death to employees. A third risk, which is not part of the risk assessment but should be considered at the risk management and task planning stage, is that of unnecessarily expending resources in areas where there are no mines or ERW .
This TN describes a process for evaluating relative risk for each combination of hazard and procedure at a particular worksite. For each combination, the result is a number than can be easily compared with the result for other combinations. A worked example of how to conduct a FRA is given in Annex C.
FRA uses the simple formula: (PoD x SoC) + WC = RN (risk number)
PoD: Probability of Detonation
SoC: Severity of Consequences WC: Worksite Conditions
Risk can be assessed using a qualitative or quantitative approach. The model described here is “semi-quantitative”. This means that, when possible, recorded data is used in the risk assessment model. While the recorded data can reliably show trends and generalisations, the conditions in which the data was gathered vary widely and the results will not apply in all circumstances so an intelligent qualitative overlay is always required.
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