Why Do We Need To Do Risk Assessment?

Risk Assessment

It is every employer’s responsibility to manage Health and Safety in their workplace. Part of the process of managing Health & safety is to ensure we are aware of the hazards, the level of risk and have taken action to minimise the risk. This process is called Risk Assessment.

There is a legal requirement in the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure as far as “reasonable practicable” the health, safety and welfare of those at work and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 call for the use of Risk Assessments to manage this process. Risk Assessment does not need to be onerous or complex and for small businesses (those employing less than 5 employees) you do not even need to write your risk assessment down (although we would always suggest this it is good practice to record it in writing).

Your Risk Assessment process does not need to create reams of paperwork, for most it will be a simple documented record of what you are probably already doing to ensure you are protecting your employees. However it is an important process as it is designed to ensure you have considered everything properly and have put appropriate control mechanisms in place.

When thinking about your risk assessments, remember:

  • a hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer etc
  • the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be

For some hazards such as Asbestos, Lead, Radiation etc there are specific regulations which may down particular control measures. If you are not knowledgeable in these areas you may need to get specific help or advice.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) promote a simple “Five Steps to Risk Assessment” process. Here are the simple steps in this process:

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
  4. Record your significant findings
  5. Review your assessment and update if necessary

More information can be found on the HSE website.

Many employers or organisations will be competent to undertake their own risk assessments and you will not need to employ anyone else to do them for you. You may however want to ensure you have someone with basic health and safety training to make sure they are competent to undertake this process. In other companies or organisations you may want to employ the services of a company offering a health and safety consultancy service.

Sirius Business Services Ltd are able to offer training in Health & Safety and also to assist you with Health & Safety documentation and Risk Assessments. We follow a simple approach which means training and documentation is easy to understand and therefore easy to impart to other staff. For further information, call us on 01305 769969 or email info@SiriusBusinessServices.co.uk