Risk assessment involves a careful examination of anything in the workplace that could cause injury, harm or ill health to employees or others, as a result of the work tasks being undertaken. Failing to conduct suitable and sufficient risk assessments is not only unlawful but continues to be a significant factor in health and safety related failings.
Risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork. It is about identifying and implementing suitable sensible measures to control and reduce the risks arising from significant, foreseeable hazards in the workplace.
Employers should be taking steps to protect employees and others from harm and ill health, and conducting risk assessments will help decide whether enough is being done.
When conducting a risk assessment, whether a formal documented procedure, or a dynamic, on-the-job, task-based process, there are a number of things that should be undertaken:
- Identify hazards (anything in the workplace that has the potential to cause harm), e.g. fire, working at height, slips and trips, etc.
- Consider the people that may be harmed by the hazard: employees, other trades, members of the public, etc. and detail how the harm may occur
- Look at current control measures that are in place, and determine the level of initial risk
- Identify additional control measures, (if required), to reduce the risk rating even further
- Record significant findings (a legal requirement if you have 5 or more employees)
- Review risk assessments periodically, (a legal requirement), especially after an accident or incident, if the task being assessed has changed, or after changes to the organisation or legislation. This should ensure the assessments remain relevant and valid
We offer Risk Assessment training aimed at employees or managers with the responsibility for carrying out risk assessments within their workplace; we also offer the IOSH Working Safely and IOSH Managing Safely courses which also cover Risk Assessments if you require additional training in this field.
We are a leading provider of health and safety consultancy in the South West. Whether you require support with a one-off assessment, or a complete health and safety management system we can help. Contact us for more information.
Roger Broadbent, Consultant