Businesses have a duty to protect their employees, other workers and visitors from harm. In order to do so, they must complete a risk assessment to identify any potential dangers in the workplace. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 set out what is required in a risk assessment, and employers are responsible for ensuring that it is carried out.
In this article, we’ll explore:
- What is a risk assessment and why do you need one?
- The components of a risk assessment
- How to plan a risk assessment
- Who should ideally carry out a risk assessment?
What is a risk assessment and why do you need one?
A risk assessment is a process of looking at what could go wrong in your workplace and what you can do to prevent it. It’s important to do a risk assessment so that you can identify any potential hazards and take steps to protect your employees, other workers and visitors.
What needs to be in a risk assessment?
At a very basic level, a health and safety risk assessment should include the following information:
– Details of the business
– The location of the business
– The types of work that are carried out at the business
– The hazards that are present at the business
– The risks associated with each hazard
– The controls that are in place to reduce the risks
However, before jumping straight in and carrying out a risk assessment for your business, you should make a plan of the hazards you would objectively expect to find.
How to plan a risk assessment:
Before you carry out a risk assessment, it’s important that you begin by identifying the hazards associated with your working environment. To do this, think about what health and safety risks may be present in your workplace. This could be anything from lifting heavy equipment or storing chemicals, to dealing with angry customers or employees.
Who should carry out a risk assessment?
The risk assessment can be completed by an employee in house, however they must have a knowledge of the equipment or process, and an understanding of how to write the risk assessment to ensure the risk assessment is suitable and sufficient to reduce any risk. In the event of an accident the risk assessments can be scrutinised by a HSE or Environmental Officer to ensure they are robust, which could lead to prosecution if they are not suitable.
Ideally, you should instruct a competent third-party health and safety consultant to carry out your health and safety risk assessment. This way, you do not run the risk of looking at the health and safety risks within your business through rose-tinted glasses. Objectivity is the foundation of all good risk assessments, and one of the only ways to truly achieve this is to have it done by somebody who is not part of the company.
Final thoughts on risk assessments:
A risk assessment is a formal process for identifying health and safety risks in the workplace. It should be carried out by employers to identify what hazards exist, how they can be controlled, and whether any action needs to be taken now or at some time in the future.
If you plan on carrying out a risk assessment in-house, be sure that you properly plan before carrying a risk assessment out. Ideally, this should be carried out by an external health and safety consultant.
If you’re worried about the cost of bringing in a third-party consultant, we have a package for low risk businesses and companies with less than 5 employees view our page, which specifically details our yearly plan. If you have more than 5 employees and your business activities are medium to high risk, we can tailor a package for you to ensure you always get value for money. Please contact us for a chat and a free no obligation quote.