While ideally all of the stakeholders will be in the same room or space when you are doing a workplace risk assessmen,, sometimes this is not practically possible. Here are some important steps to take when you are running a workplace risk assessment with remote participants.
Circulate photos or diagrams of the workplace ahead of time
As workplace risk assessments deal with physical risks it is a good idea to circulate photos and workflow diagrams ahead of time. This allows people who cannot be there in person to understand physical risks and the proximity of certain items to the workplace such as switchboards or powerpoints. By circulating them ahead of time if people are not clear on the process or want more detailed diagrams or videos of the process in operation, these can be provided before the risk assessment starts. This ensures everyone can give meaningful input.
Aim for video conferencing
While technically you can engage people through a standard call, it is valuable to use a video conferencing tool. There are a growing number of high-quality programs that can be used to video conference from mobile devices such as tablets and phones. Using video conferencing allows people to read non-verbal queues and ensure that the leader of the assessments can probe for any reluctance or additional information which is required to get an accurate assessment. Some tools also allow you to share a desktop so that you can share diagrams and examples as the assessment continues.
Use a professional co-ordinator
While there are some advantages to doing assessments in house (such as cost), using an external co-ordinator can be a valuable way to maximise the effectiveness of your workplace assessment. Co-ordinators are experienced at asking the right questions and drawing out quieter people in the room, whilst managing the larger egos at play. It can often be easiest to do this as an external person as you do not have to then work with the people on the room on an ongoing basis during the project. Also as co-ordinators do a range of workplace risk assessment in different companies and places they can help to identify risks that you may not have considered, by adding some fresh but experienced eyes to the team.
If you want to run a successful remote workplace risk assessment it can be a good idea to get some support from a professional workplace risk assessment co-ordinator, who can help you plan and execute a useful and meaningful workshop.