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The "Risk-Informed" Approach to Regulating Public Safety
The Ontario Government created TSSA in 1996, to deliver specific public safety services to Ontario industries. To achieve efficiencies, we make the most of our resources by integrating proven risk-management principles into our operations and by applying a risk-informed approach to safety regulation.
We do this by prioritizing the level of risk involved in every area we regulate to identify those requiring the most attention.
The risk-informed approach is an ongoing five-step process that includes:
- Identifying and analyzing public safety risk. We gather and analyze information on public safety to assess risk in each area we regulate.
- Examining alternative safety risk-management techniques. To manage public safety risk, we use a variety of tools, including:
- recommending changes to engineering designs;
- revising safety codes and regulations;
- developing training and certification programs for people who operate or maintain equipment;
- educating the public on safe operation and use of equipment;
- enforcing regulations through punitive measures such as orders, fines and even prosecution;
- charging service fees on the basis of risk;
- issuing safety bulletins to industry and the public; and
- changing TSSA processes.
- Selecting the most effective risk-management techniques. Working with industry, we determine the positive impacts each of our risk management tools will have on public safety and select the best technique for managing each risk.
- Implementing the selected techniques. Guided by the advice of our Industry Advisory councils, we communicate and implement the best techniques for managing risk.
- Monitoring results. In the monitoring process, the risk-informed approach becomes a valuable mechanism for continuous quality improvement. We re-focus our efforts in areas where they will have the greatest impact on public safety. For example:
- We inspect devices evaluated as "high-risk" more often.
- We review in closer detail any engineering designs for new or existing devices that have been evaluated as "high-risk."
- We investigate incidents with potential for serious harm to the public for root causes and corrective action.
Improved efficiency and safety
Once we understand the nature of risk in each regulated sector, we focus our resources to deal with that risk. Facilities that operate safely require fewer regulatory resources, making the system more efficient and cost-effective. The system has improved both the efficiency of the regulatory process and public safety in the regulated sectors.
This risk-informed approach also includes mechanisms for measuring results, validating efforts and determining the need for internal changes - all aimed at ensuring continuous improvement in our overall performance.
In conclusion, the risk-informed approach has been a key element in our regulatory success, allowing us to:
- understand the nature of public safety risk;
- quickly develop preventative strategies to address safety hazards;
- target activity where it will have the greatest impact on risk;
- improve safety outcomes generally.
TSSA'S Risk-informed Approach to Public Safety
(click here to view larger diagram)