As an employer it’s your responsibility to keep your employees safe whilst they’re at work and a risk assessment is an important step in identifying hazards in the workplace and protecting your employees.
What is a risk assessment?
A risk assessment is a systematic process of reviewing hazards – things that might cause harm to people and evaluate the associated risk that comes with that hazard. Once you’ve identified hazards in the workplace, you should take reasonable steps to reduce or remove it.
Most of the time, you can put in place simple measures to control risk, for example making sure spillages are cleaned up quickly to prevent people from slipping, and a wet floor sign displayed to identify the hazard, letting people know the floor is wet.
A risk assessment is a legal requirement under the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations for all UK businesses. However, if you have less than 5 employees you don’t need a written copy but you’ll need to demonstrate you have considered potential hazards and put in place measures to reduce or prevent them, ensuring compliance
How to complete a risk assessment
A risk assessment is not about creating lots of paperwork, normally a straight-forward risk assessment form (which can be found in Primed, our online system) will do the job for generic activities and tasks.
The HSE recommend a 5 step approach to completing a risk assessment:
- Identify hazards
- Decide who might be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and decide on what precautions you can put in place
- Record your significant findings
- Review your findings and keep them up to date
Once you have completed the assessment you must communicate it to those affected, it is not just a paperwork exercise.
Types of risk assessment
There are a range of risk assessments but you only need to complete ones that are relevant to the activities your business undertakes. In many industries, you are required to carry out specific risk assessments for example if you work with hazardous chemicals, you must carry out a Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Assessment (COSHH).
Common types of risk assessment
- Fire risk assessment, typically conducted by a fire safety expert
- Manual handling risk assessment
- Display screen equipment risk assessment
You may also complete a Method Statement which is commonly used in the construction industry and details the type of hazard and a step-by-step procedure of how to complete work, controlling the risk.
Who can complete a risk assessment?
Whilst you, the employer are responsible for making sure a risk assessment has been carried out, you can appoint someone who works for you with the appropriate experience or a safety consultant to carry one out for you. Risk assessments should be carried out by a competent person – someone who has the skills, knowledge and experience to spot hazards in your business, identify solutions and put the relevant safety measures in place.
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