Health & Safety Risk Assessment
The Health and Safety Executive recommends five steps to successful risk assessment.
By completing these five steps, organisations can help to ensure that their business and employees are sufficiently protected. The HSE defines clear stages for the successful implementation of a Risk Assessment strategy, which are as follows:
- Identifying Potential Hazards
The first step in a risk assessment is to identify any hazards in the workplace. It is easy to overlook certain small hazards when they are visible every day which is why having a clear checklist can really make a difference and avoid complacency.
A few tips to use during a risk assessment that can help to identify problems are:
- Walk around the workplace whilst carefully taking note of anything that looks out of place or could pose a danger.
- Ask members of staff if they have noticed any hazards in their daily work areas.
- Check the instructions for any equipment or chemicals that are in the workplace, as they will state any potential hazards.
- Review the sick and accident records to see which departments are most affected.
- Consider long term risks within the business.
- Determine Who Might Be at Risk
For every hazard that you uncover, you will need to identify who is most likely to be at risk. By doing this, organisations can figure out the best way to manage the risk and therefore inform and train the relevant people and manage and implement any necessary changes. Be sure to list the particular groups of people, and the risks that apply to them.
- Decide on Precautions
Once you have identified the potential risks, you must then decide how you are going to manage them. The best way to do this is compare what you are already doing with good practice standards which can be found on the HSE website.
This will allow you to ascertain any gaps or shortfalls in current safety procedures and make effective and informed decisions on what to do going forward.
- Record your Findings and Implement Them
When you have decided on the precautions to take, you will need to thoroughly document them. Once this is done you must then implement all of them systematically in order to increase the safety of your workplace.
- Review and Update
A key part of risk assessments is the fact that they are re-evaluated regularly. You should periodically review your health and safety assessment and update it where necessary in order to continue to meet the latest health and safety regulations and keep your employees safe.
Keep Things Simple
The HSE emphasises in its online documentation that risk assessments need to be kept simple. Their view is that you already know your business better than anyone else – which means you should find it relatively easy to put in place control measures that will protect your employees.
The Need for Health and Safety
Health and Safety management is required by UK law and every business, no matter how small, needs to meet the required health and safety standards. To stay on top of these standards in the long term, businesses should implement formal management processes that ensures they stay up to date and compliant.
Is Health and Safety Management Necessary?
It is extremely easy for individuals and organisations to dismiss the potential risks to their employees believing that the odds are slim, accidents never happen or simply that what they have in place is enough. The shocking reality is that across all types of industries, thousands of workers suffer minor to serious injuries every single day in the UK.
Some of the latest health and safety statistics have shown that in the UK there is;
- Over 6,000 people are injured at work each day
- On average at least one person is killed or dies each day as a result of a workplace injury or illness.
- Every year hundreds of thousands of people take time off work because of a work-related injury or ailment.
- Around 30 million workdays a year are lost as a result of something which can easily be managed.
The Importance of Performance
Your HSE policy will force you to look at your business’s performance from three key vantage points:
- Its people
- Its systems
- Its procedures
This will help you achieve important objectives by pinpointing the root cause of underperformance and easily identifying any changes that need to be made in order to retain compliance. This in turn provides
a safer environment for your workers and a more efficient operation that will save your company money and reduce the risk of legal liability.