How often should risk assessments be reviewed?

A common question associated with machine safety is, how often does the machine’s risk assessment need to be reviewed? In the past each state and territory had its own Act, Regulations and Code of Practice, which had slightly different requirements. Some legislation, such as NSW Regulations 2001, states that some risk assessments should be reviewed every 5 years. Another document released by the Queensland government titled “Guide to Safeguarding common Machinery & Plant” indicated that risk management should be reviewed once every 12 months.

The national Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation was planned to remove these differences by providing a uniform set of Act, Regulations and Code of Practice for all states and territories. Unfortunately this hasn't been adopted by all states this year. The following guidance comes from the Safe Work Australia Code of Practice, “How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks.”

The process of Risk Management, which includes risk assessment, is an ongoing process that may be triggered when:
  • Starting a new business
  • Changing work practices, procedures
  • Purchasing new equipment
  • New information on risks becomes available
  • An incident occurs
  • Workers, health and safety representative or others raise concerns
  • WHS regulation specify the need for specific hazards
My question would be; if none of the above events occur, when should the existing risk controls be reviewed?

Published: 19 November 2012