Risk Assessments

Risk assessment

The HSE’s definition of a risk assessment is:

“….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….”

Risk assessmentRisk assessments are part of our lives, sub-contiously we risk assess all the time. We risk assess when we drive, have we got enough time to pull out of the  junction? do I need to turn my lights on?

Our perception of hazards changes through out our lives and this largely due to our own experiences or of those of our friends and family or what we read about in the media.

Risk assessments are enshrined in law, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Reg.3) require every employer to ensure a suitable risk assessment is undertaken. Self-employed persons are not excluded from this regulation either.

Five steps to undertaking a risk assessment

The HSE has identified the following FIVE steps to risk assessment:-

  1. Identify the hazards - these are the things that can cause harm e.g. chemicals, moving vehicles.
  2. Decide who may be harmed and how - this must include ANYONE who could be. affected by what you do or don't do. This could include your staff, others working in the area or members of the public.
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on the control measures - The best is to remove the hazard altogether. However if this is not possible then try to put in control s so that harm is unlikely to occur.
  4. Record your findings - if you have 5 or more persons then the risk assessment must be recorded and available to staff. If you have less than 5 employees then you must still carry out the risk assessment and inform your staff.
  5. Review your assessment - We all know things change and so your risk assessments should be reviewed, but when is the best time to review risk assessments? Risk assessments should be reviewed periodically, when you change the equipment, when the  material changes or when the environment changes.

Other risk we undertake assessments

The law also places a requirement on employers to undertake a number of other specific risk assessments including:-

  • Fire risk assessments
  • Young person risk assessments - a young person is classed as a person between the age of 16 - 18 yers old
  • Pregnant worker assessments

Safety Advisors undertake risk assessments and involve the people the risk assessment is trying to protect from harm.

Pregnant woman

Useful links

Managing and Measuring Risk

Fire risk assessments - When is the best time to review?

HSE risk assessment site