Five Steps to Risk Assessment

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Accidents and ill health can ruin lives and affect your business. You are legally required to assess the risks in your workplace and this step by step guide can help you to carry out your assessment.

A risk assessment is a careful examination of your workplace and work activities, identifying hazards and assessing the risks that they present to both your employees and others who may be affected by your activities. This examination will identify whether you have taken adequate precautions to prevent harm.

  1. Identify the hazards
    Walk around the workplace.  Talk to employees as they may be aware of things not immediately obvious. Manufacturers instructions or data sheets can help locate hazards.  Further, you can check accident and ill health records.

  2. Who might be harmed?
    Identify those workers who may be harmed, paying specific attention to any young workers, trainees, new and expectant mothers. What about cleaners, visitors & contractors, who are not in the workplace all the time, as well as members of the public?

  3. Identify existing precautions
    What precautions are already in place?  Are they being observed and monitored by managers? Draw up a plan for implementing any further precautions.

  4. Assess the risk
    How likely is it that each hazard could cause harm?  Have you met all requirements set by law and industry standards? Have you done what is reasonably practicable to keep your workplace safe?

    Specify any further precautions needed and compile an 'action list'. Assign priorities to further precautions.  Ask yourself whether you can get rid of the hazard altogether: if not, can you reduce the risk? Then draw up a plan for implementing any further precautions.

  5. Record your assessment and revise if necessary.
    If you have less than 5 employees, you do not need to write anything down.  However, it is useful to keep a record of what you have done. You should review your assessment periodically or if there is a significant change in work practices, equipment etc or if further information comes to light.

You need to show that:

  • A proper check has been made.
  • You have asked who might be affected by the hazards.
  • You have dealt with all the obvious hazards, taking into account the number of people who could be involved.
  • The precautions taken are reasonable and the assessment remains valid.

We can help you on areas such as risk prevention and health and safety measures. Improving health and safety need not cost a lot of money. However, failure to take simple precautions can cost you a lot more if an accident does happen.

For more information please contact us.