The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) define 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…’
Essentially, it is the process of identifying hazards and risk factors that have the potential to cause harm to any individual who may come into contact with your workplace and the activities undertaken within that workplace, and ensuring that the right amount of time, effort and money has been used to mitigate the hazard in relation to the size of the risk and the likelihood of it causing harm.
Yes. It is a legal requirement for an employer or self-employed person to make an assessment of the health and safety risks arising out of their work. The purpose of the assessment is to identify what needs to be done to control health and safety risks. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state that a risk assessment only needs to be recorded if you have 5 or more employees. However, we would advise that a simple risk assessment is recorded no matter the size of the business to show that you have identified the hazards and mitigated the risks as much as possible.
A risk assessment should be carried out prior to undertaking any work that presents a risk of injury or ill health. It should be done with enough time to ensure that control measures can be put in place to mitigate the risk of harm as far as is reasonably practicable. This means implementing measures using time, effort and money that is commensurate to the risk i.e. low-level risks do not require thousands of pounds and weeks of work to eradicate the risk completely or minimise it even lower, however, a high-risk activity may require the purchase/hire of a safer piece of equipment to lower the risk to a medium level risk.
Your risk assessment should consider what in your business might cause harm, how it may cause harm and to whom. It should include 5 basic principles:
Safe Track Associates Limited can supply you with a standard risk assessment template that covers the key activities, hazards and risks in your organisation. This can then be adapted to specific jobs/activities/workplaces by the employer, or somebody appointed by the employer who has the sufficient skills, knowledge and training to make the risk assessment specific to your needs.