There are five steps to successful risk assessment, according to the Health and Safety Executive. By completing these five steps you will ensure that your business and employees are sufficiently protected. The HSE defines clear stages for the successful implementation of a Risk Assessment strategy, which are as follows:
1. Isolating the potential hazards
2. Identifying who could be hurt and how
3. Undertaking a risk evaluation
4. Noting your findings, implementing them
5. Continually reviewing your findings and changing them where needed
1. Identify the Hazard
The first step in risk assessment is to identify any hazards in your workplace. It’s actually easy to overlook certain small hazards when they’re visible every day. There are a few ways that you can go about identifying the problems:
- Walk around the workplace and take note of anything that looks out of place, or could pose a danger.
- Ask the 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.
- Look over your sick and accident records to see which departments are most affected, and find the less obvious hazards.
- Take into account long term risks in the business.
2. Determine Who Might Be At Risk
For every hazard that you uncover, you need to identify who is at risk. By doing this you will be able to figure out the best way to manage the risk. List the particular groups of people, and the risks that apply to them.
3. Decide On Precautions
Now that you know about the risks, you have to 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. It is possible to find these standards on the HSE website.
4. Record your Findings and Implement Them
When you have decided on the precautions to take, you need to document them. Once this is done you must go about implementing all of them systematically in order to increase the safety of your workplace.
5. Review and Update
You should periodically review your health and safety assessment, and update it where necessary.
Keep Things Simple
The HSE emphasises in its online documentation that risk assessment needs 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. In some cases – for example if a business is very small – they even recommend conducting the safety assessment yourself.