Risk Assessment

Barnes Broadway

Identify the Hazards

One of the most important aspects of your risk assessment is accurately identifying the potential hazards in your workplace. A good starting point is to walk around your workplace and think about any hazards.

Decide who might be harmed and how.

Think how employees (or others who may be present such as contractors or visitors) might be harmed. Ask your employees what they think the hazards are, as they may notice things that are not obvious to you and may have some good ideas on how to control the risks

Evaluate the Risks

Having identified the hazards, you then have to decide how likely it is that harm will occur; ie the level of risk and what to do about it. Risk is a part of everyday life and you are not expected to eliminate all risks. What you must do is make sure you know about the main risks and the things you need to do to manage them responsibly.

Generally, you need to do everything 'reasonably practicable'. This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the real risk in terms of money, time or trouble. However, you do not need to take action if it would be grossly disproportionate to the level of risk.

Record your significant findings

Make a record of your significant findings - the hazards, how people might be harmed by them and what you have in place to control the risks. Any record produced should be simple and focused on controls.

If you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write anything down. But it is useful to do this so you can review it at a later date, for example if something changes. If you have five or more employees you are required by law to write it down.

Any paperwork you produce should help you to communicate and manage the risks in your business. For most people this does not need to be a big exercise - just note the main points down about the significant risks and what you concluded.

Review your risk assessment and update if necessary

Few workplaces stay the same. Sooner or later, you will bring in new equipment, substances and procedures that could lead to new hazards. So it makes sense to review what you are doing on an ongoing basis, look at your risk assessment again and ask yoursel

Have there been any significant changes?

Are there improvements you still need to make?

Have your workers spotted a problem?

Have you learnt anything from accidents or near misses?