Risk assessments – Why bother?
With all the other day to day goings on of a business we can quite often forget just what a risk assessment should be, and why it is so important.
A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace. You are probably already taking steps to protect your employees, but your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have covered all you need to.
As part of managing the health and safety of your business you must control the risks in your workplace. To do this you need to think about what might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm. This is known as risk assessment and it is something you are required by law to carry out. If you have fewer than five employees you don't have to write anything down.
Think about how accidents and ill health could happen and concentrate on real risks – those that are most likely and which will cause the most harm.
For some risks, other regulations require particular control measures. Your assessment can help you identify where you need to look at certain risks and these particular control measures in more detail. These control measures do not have to be assessed separately but can be considered as part of, or an extension of, your overall risk assessment.
How to assess the risks in your workplace:
Identify the hazards
Decide who might be harmed and how
Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
Record your significant findings
Review your assessment and update if necessary
When thinking about your risk assessment, remember:
a hazard is anything that may cause harm; these can be hazards to physical health such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer or to mental health – if, for example the common causes of work-related mental ill health e.g. demands, control and support for individuals are not properly managed in the workplace
the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be
For any help in making your risk assessments appropriate and fit for purpose please contact us here.