A Guide To Risk Assessments

A risk assessment is a core component of health and safety management in the workplace.

So it’s important that all businesses carry out thorough risk assessments that comply with their statutory duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Risk assessments are not only in place to protect businesses and employees, but they are also a legal requirement designed to minimise the risk of injury, ill health and even death at work.

Risk assessments should only be only carried out by individuals who have attended risk assessment training and have the skills and knowledge to identify hazards, categorise them, and evaluate risks in all areas of the work place.

How do you carry out an accurate risk assessment?

When it comes to carrying out a risk assessment, it’s not a case of one size fits all.

After all, it’s highly unlikely that you will ever come across two places of work that are exactly the same. With this in mind, you should approach every risk assessment as if it is completely unique to your working environment.

There are a number of general principles to keep in mind when completing any risk assessment including:

  • Identifying the hazards
  • Determining who might be harmed and how they might be harmed
  • Evaluating the risks and deciding on the appropriate control measures to implement
  • Recording your findings
  • Reviewing your assessment on a regular basis
  • Always be in a position to update your assessment if necessary

Identifying the hazards

Before you can successfully identify hazards in a workplace, it’s important that you understand the difference between a ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’.

A hazard is something that could potentially cause harm to an individual. A risk is the likelihood of it happening.

Once an individual is trained to carry out a thorough risk assessment, they will know what to look for and will adopt a number different techniques in order to successfully identify hazards.

How to determine who will be harmed

Once you have identified potential hazards, you will need to assess who might be harmed in the workplace and how they might be harmed.  Whether that’s employees, visitors, partners, or even members of the public, this information is crucial for health and safety purposes.

Evaluating risks and implanting control measures

Every business has a legal obligation to protect their workforce, partners, and any members of the public who enter their premises. With this in mind, once a hazard has been identified, it’s important that controlled measures are implemented straight away to minimise the risk of injury.  

Recording your findings

Finally, all of your findings should be documented and filed so that they are always to hand if needed. This is also a legal requirement if you employ more than five people. And remember, this information should always be kept up to date so that it is accurate.

If you need help with risk assessments for your workplace, please get in touch.