Risk Assessment – The basics you need to know
What is Risk Assessment?
A risk assessment is a method of evaluating Hazards and Risks to employees, or anyone entering your business. Risk Assessments are a vital element for health and safety management. It’s main objective is to show you what Hazards and Risks are present and to determine the measures required to comply with your statutory duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated regulations by reducing the level of incidents/accidents.
The Health & Safety Executive in the UK defines a risk assessment as:
“…. a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm….”
So why do we have to carry out a Risk Assessment?
A Risk Assessment will make staff aware of current hazards involved in their role and processes. It will protect both workers and business, as well as comply with the law. Assessments are written before employees conduct work on existing processes and equipment, or new or unknown parts, using existing or new methods or materials, which could present a risk of injury or ill-health.
A competent person from your organisation with suitable and sufficient training will be able to complete the necessary assessment. The qualified person has to have the skills, training and knowledge such as hazard identification, ability to categorise and evaluate risk(s). It is Key to involve the workers within the process to enable a ‘suitable and sufficient’ risk assessment to be conducted within your organisation.
How to complete a risk assessment?
There are no fixed rules on how somebody writes a risk assessment, but there are a few general principles that will need to be followed. However, there is a 5 step process to use:
- Identify the hazards.
What is it that will cause you harm?
- Decide who could be harmed and how.
Identify who will be harmed by the hazard and what harm could be caused.
- Evaluate the risks and decide on control measures.
Evaluate what precautions are in place already. How can this be improved?
- Record your findings and implement them.
Use a written, easy to follow form to record all your findings; there are lots of templates available. However, make sure you choose one or create your own to ensure the results are recorded. Below is an example of what is used.
- Review your assessment and update if necessary.
You will need to review the Risk Assessment at least annually, or if something within the process changes
There is plenty of advice out there, but check its from a reputable source. The best is found on the HSE website.
By using the above steps, you will cover the basics of a risk assessment.