- A risk assessment is an important step in protecting your workers and your business, as well as complying with the law. It helps you focus on the risks that really matter in your workplace – the ones with the potential to cause harm.
- The Management Regulations lay down what the employer must do:
· Make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of employees and others who may be affected (such as contractors or the public).
· Where there are five or more employees, keep a written record of the findings of the assessment and any groups of employees particularly at risk.
· Identify and then introduce the preventive and protective measures needed to improve workplace health and safety.
· Have arrangements for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures.
· Review the assessment if there is any reason to believe that it is no longer valid (e.g. if there have been changes in the way work has been done, such as new work processes or equipment). The employer should also review the risk assessments after any injury, near miss or ill health caused by work.
· Provide any health surveillance identified in the risk assessment.
· Establish procedures to be followed in the event of serious and imminent danger.
· Provide health and safety information, instruction and training for all employees.
· Have competent health and safety assistance. This can either be in-house or using an external advisor.
- The way in which risk assessments are carried out and particularly on how you record them will vary greatly depending on your type of business and the sort of hazards that your employees (and others) might face. If this subject is new to you then the HSE website is again a good place to find out more.
- If you don’t feel confident in carrying out and recording risk assessments then Switch can help; we’ve written thousands! Often a business does not feel that they are competent to carry out risk assessments in certain areas/topics e.g. display screen user assessments, noise measuring/monitoring, traffic movements, COSHH, etc, etc.
- Even we as H&S; specialists very occasionally have to bring in outside expertise for some very unusual hazards so don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help. We were asked by a compost manufacturer how many mushroom spores should be permitted in the atmosphere before a health hazard exists – we needed help with that one! We found a professor in a Dutch university who not only had the answer but gave us a plethora of related information for free – our client was delighted.