Complaints - Step 6: Risk Matrix and Local factors
The Complaints Handling Officer should assess the complaint using the risk matrix.
NB For Welfare complaints go straight to the Local factors
Possible injury risk/possible health risk
This refers to the consequence of the activity or nature of the harm that could reasonably be expected to occur.
It is linked to the levels of harm described in the Reporting of injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 and brief details are given on the matrix itself e.g.
- Serious personal injury - broken arm/leg, severe scalding injury to resident of nursing home
- Serious health effect - sensitisation due to exposure to isocyanate in paint
- Significant injury - contusion or graze resulting in more than 3 days absence from work
- Significant health effect - reversible irritation due to breathing dust/vapour resulting in absence from work
- Minor injury - cuts and bruises requiring first aid only
- Minor health effect - irritation requiring only first aid
Number of possible casualties at one time
The extent of the injuries or ill health should then be considered:
Multiple: events affecting large numbers of employees or major hazards with off - site risks where several members of the public may be at risk
Single or low: a single or small number of casualties
This means the probability of the uncontrolled event which may lead to the injury or ill health happening.
Likelihood can be a subjective assessment that can vary within or between industries. A combination of factors should be taken into account, including the complaint officers knowledge of the industry/activity, accident rates and HSE guidance.
Officers should use their professional judgement to decide whether the likelihood is probable, possible, remote or nil/negligible.
A machine with unintentionally exposed and charged electrical conductors is located immediately next to an employee’s work station.
This would give a probable likelihood of serious personal injury.
Using the “single or low” number of casualties this would give a RED risk coding.
For Gas complaints the outcome of dangerous gas fittings or work not carried out safely is can be death or carbon monoxide poisoning so would be likely to red/amber. Any complaints which meet the definition of a serious gas complaint would be red.
For apparently administrative issues such as cases where there is no landlord’s gas safety record available, these should be rated amber without recourse to the risk matrix because of the potential risk involved.
Once the complaint has been assessed using the matrix the local factors flow chart which asks a series of questions should be used.
If the answer to any of the questions is “yes” except for the first question, then the risk rating is changed up e.g. from green to amber or amber to red.
Welfare complaints, which are not assessed using the risk matrix should be considered under local factors which asks: Is welfare provision significantly below that required by law?
Complaint Officers should consider: is there a denial of basic employee welfare facilities? For example:
- failure to provide toilets,
- failure to provide hot and cold or warm water (this is particularly relevant in construction or in other industries where chemicals are being handled)
- inadequate numbers of toilets for numbers of employees on site
- toilets dirty or, if portable, not emptied
In the case of complaints where there may be political sensitivity the case should be discussed with the Band 2. For example all conventional health and safety issues at nuclear sites, or issues raised by elected members of local or central government.