10 Steps to Health and Safety - 3 Identify and manage risks
What hazards do you face?
Hazards are the things that can cause harm such as contact with chemicals, falls from height, noise etc.
Identify who could be harmed if they come into contact with the hazards. You should consider all people who could be affected and these include staff, the public, volunteers, visitors etc.
How likely are these to occur and what would happen if they did occur?
This is called risk rating. Risk rating allows you to focus on the most significant hazards in your organisation. The most significant hazards will probably need the most effort to implement the correct controls to protect people.
Identify control measures
Control measures are the steps you take to prevent harm occurring.
Starting with the best control measures these can be broken into the following:-
This is complete removal of the hazard e.g. asbestos removal
Replace the hazard with something less harmful e.g. reduce the exposure time or change the product to something less harmful
- Engineering controls
Prevent people from accessing the hazard e.g. fitting guards on machinery or introducing handrails around open shafts
Administrative controls include policies and procedures, provision of training etc. Procedures can form part of the overall company health and safety policy and if you have 5 or more people in your organisation these policies MUST be recorded AND available to staff.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE can be an effective control but as it only protects the individual, you should consider other controls first. PPE must be provided free of charge to staff.
When selecting PPE you must consider:-
- Its suitability for the task
- Does it interfere with other equipment?
- How will it stored when not in use?
- Does it need maintaining?
- How is it issued and replaced?