What is risk management of electrical products?
Risk management of electrical products can be explained as a continuous management process. Its goal is to identify, analyze and assess potential hazards in an electrical product, as well as identify and introduce proper risk control measures to eliminate – or at least reduce – potential harm to people, animals, the environment and other assets.
Risk management helps manufacturers obtain tools to design and develop safe goods. However, no product can be completely fail-safe. Products always include hazards and, consequently, residual risk reduced to a tolerable level.
What are the steps in the risk management process?
The risk management of electrical products includes three main stages: risk assessment, risk control, and production and post-production information.
#1. Risk assessment
The risk assessment phase addresses all the risks associated with a product. It involves risk analysis and risk evaluation.
The risk analysis step includes operations related to hazard identification and risk estimation for each hazard. When performing a risk analysis of a product, the manufacturer must start by identifying qualitative and quantitative safety characteristics of the product or its accessory under consideration. Typically, they should be able to answer the following questions:
- What is the device’s intended use?
- Is the electrical device intended to control other electrical equipment?
- What safety-related materials and/or components are used?
- Is the device interpretative?
- Are the product measurements ready?
- Is there unwanted output of energy?
- Are there any accessories provided with the product?
- Does the surrounding environment affect the device’s performance or use?
- Does the device contain software?
- Is maintenance or calibration required?
- To what mechanical forces will the device be subjected?
- Does longtime use affect the product?
- How is the product’s lifetime determined?
These questions will help identify hazards, threats and hazardous situations, estimate the risks associated with each hazard/hazardous situation and determine the probability of harm occurrence.
Once all questions are answered and a supplementary functional description is provided, the manufacturer can proceed to the next step – risk evaluation. The latter consists of the following:
- Evaluation of the risks against risk acceptance criteria
- Proposing measures to reduce intolerable risks
- Assessment of the alternative risk-reducing measures.
#2. Risk control
During the risk control phase, the following actions have to be performed:
- Deciding which risk-reducing measures to use
- Conducting a risk/benefit analysis
- Implementing the selected risk-reducing measures
- Evaluating the residual risk
- Monitoring the effects of the implemented risk-reducing measures.
#3. Production and post-production information
This is the last stage of the risk management process of electrical products. It includes the following steps:
- Collecting information from the product’s users that can contribute to the improvement of the product and its safety
- Analysing the collected data for technological developments
- Reviewing the post-production experience and implementing relevant safety improvements in the product.
How to ensure that you develop safe products?
Developing safe electrical products depends a lot on ensuring that your products fulfil all relevant national and international regulations and standards regarding product safety design. Lacking compliance with even a single applicable regulatory requirement results in unsafe product design.
But navigating the regulatory maze is not an easy task even for experienced compliance professionals. There is always a chance of omitting errors when identifying relevant regulations and standards or keeping up with the changes and updates in the regulatory framework. So, one of the best ways to avoid human errors is by using product compliance software. Such a digital solution will help you automate compliance tasks, such as standards identification and regulatory monitoring, and improve the quality of data collected throughout a product’s life cycle.