Our risk assessment

The idea of assessing and controlling risks was introduced to britain with the Control of Substances Hazardous to health Regulations 1988, when employers had to assess the risk of harm to people from certain substances being used at work.  This was developed further in the “six pack” regulations in 1992. The 1992 Code of Practice for the Management of Health And Safety at work made it a legal duty for employers to assess and record health and safety risks, and to appoint a “competent person”, a person who has been suitable trained and who is allowed adequate time and facilities, to perform this role and assist in this and other safety tasks. Every organisation has to carry out its own risk assessment , and strategies for this should be devised by management after consultation with all interest groups in the workforce.

According to the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), in our booklet five steps to risk assessment, the five main steps involved in assessing risks and hazards in the workplace are:

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

Assessment do not have to be carried out by health and safety experts, It  may choose to undertake the initial assessment of risk by themselves: alternatively they prefer to employ a consultant.

Steps 1 and 2 identify the hazards and decide who may be harmed by them: most organisations should be able to carry out the first two steps quite easily and identify sources of risk and then identify those who may be harmed by the risks.  Many of the risks will probably be well known to you already such as the risk of slipping in áreas where the floor may sometimes be wet, but sometimes even obvious hazards such as this are ignored. Identifying hazards involves looking and talking to people in the area being assessed. It also involves identifying which groups of workers are likely to suffer harm and the type of injury that they are likely to suffer.

Step 3 evaluate the risk and decide on precautions: once you have identified the hazards and those likely to be affected by them then you must do something about them.

Step 4 Record your findings and implement them:  Good practice to do so anyway. Workers need to know what is happening as far as minimising risks is concerned and it also helps to involve them more in health and safety. According to the Health, Safety and Environment 2014 our operations need to show that:

  • A proper check was made
  • You asked who might be affected
  • You dealt with all significant hazards, taking into account the number of people who could be involved
  • The precautions are reasonable and the remaining risk low; and
  • You involved your staff or their representatives in the process

Although it would be excellent if you could tackle all hazards immediately this will probably not be practicable so you need to plan an order of priority. Which are the most dangerous hazards? Which are quick and easy to solve? Are there any temporary solutions that could be used while a loger term solutions that could be used while a loger term solution is being organised?, how will you monitor your solutions are working? Who is due to take action on each point and by when?.

Step 5, Review your risk assessment and update is necessary. All workplaces are subject constant change so something that Works well at first may, due to changing circumstances or work patterns no longer be so affective. Therefore the risk assessment needs to be monitored on a regular basis. For some organisations where there is a great deal of change this may involve reviewing risk assessment on monthly or perhaps even weekly basis.