Operational Risk Manager

Guidelines for identifying, prioritizing and correcting facility health and safety deficiencies have been developed by the Risk Assessment Work Group to ensure that there is a consistent Departmentwide approach and that priority is given to address those deficiencies that pose the highest risk to the health and safety of our employees and the public.  The Risk Assessment Work Group is one of 12 Work Groups formed to respond to recommendations made by the Office of the Inspector General in their audit of the safety and health program.

These guidelines provide a ranking process for safety and health deficiencies that considers the hazard severity, the probability of occurrence, and the number of persons exposed or amount of resource loss in the event of failure.  This is done so that the most critical, hazardous deficiencies are corrected before less critical hazardous deficiencies.  This systematic evaluation process provides a relative ranking of condition related deficiencies, and a numerical value is assigned, known as a Risk Assessment Code (RAC).  The RAC is expressed as a single Arabic number that is used to help determine hazard abatement priorities, and using a RAC process provides decision-makers with a consistent and defensible approach to prioritizing work efforts among the many demands and priorities.

The RAC system provides a methodology for defining and recording the process so that facility managers in the field have the maximum information upon which to base decisions regarding safety and health hazards and control measures.
Health and safety exposures necessitate risk management strategies.  Such strategies include condition assessments or safety and health audits to identify hazards, determination of current levels of risk, and recommendation of corrective actions to eliminate identified hazards or to control hazards to an acceptable level of risk.  For DOI, acceptable levels of risk are generally defined as RAC-4 or RAC-5.  As an example, a RAC-1, “Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health” condition must be controlled as soon as possible, but no later than one work shift.  It can be controlled immediately by emergency interim measures (fences or barricading the area, taking out of service, turning off electrical power, removing employees or public from site, etc.) down to a RAC-4.  This gives facility engineers and decision-makers time to plan permanent corrective actions and request funding within established budget cycle processes to completely mitigate the hazard.

U.S. Department of the Interior
Occupational Health and Safety Program - SafetyNet
1849 C Street, N.W., MS 5558-MIB • Washington, D.C. 20240
(202) 513-0767
..Last Updated on 09/10/08