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Risk management is the process for ensuring your organisation has the most appropriate safety controls in place to reduce the likelihood of a workplace hazard causing an accident or incident. Its purpose is to identify the potential risks a hazard presents before something happens, so plans can be put in place before it does.

It’s also about ensuring that should something happen, there are safety controls in place to mitigate the consequences.

The risk management process can be broken into the following phases:

  • Identifying all of the things that could go wrong (hazards)
  • Working out how likely they are to cause an accident or incident
  • Establishing what the potential consequences could be
  • Choosing and implementing the most appropriate safety controls
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of those controls and upgrading as required

What is a safety control?

A safety control is something your organisation does or puts in place to:

  • eliminate a hazard
  • reduce the risk of a hazard causing an accident or incident, and/or
  • mitigate the consequences of an accident or incident.

Safety controls can be categorised from most effective to least effective as follows. The Transport Agency expects the safety controls that are implemented to fall into the yellow and green categories:

Category: Elimination

  • Remove a rail vehicle of a certain type from operation
  • Stop performing an activity or practice (either partly or completely)

Category: Minimisation


  • Replace an item of machinery with a better one
  • Start performing an activity or practice a different way


  • Prevent access to a hazard
  • Restrict the use of an item of machinery

Engineering controls

  • Upgrade a rail vehicle to make it safer
  • Implement automated technology (eg automatic brakes)

Category: Administrative controls

  • Adopt a new procedure
  • Carry out training

Category: Personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • High visibility clothing
  • Hard hats