Health and Safety

What is a Risk Assessment?

Risk Assessments in Workplaces

Risk assessments are part of the risk management process that is often included in the management of health and safety at work required under the Health and Safety Work Act (HSWA) 1974. Risk assessments are procedures in which risks that currently exist or may appear in a workplace are identified and recorded or eliminated.

What is Relevant Risk Assessment Legislation?

Other relevant legislation on risk assessments includes The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 regulation 3 (1). Risk assessment procedures simply follow four parts:

  • Risk.
  • Identification.
  • Evaluation.
  • Prioritisation.

A risk assessment defines which workplace hazards are likely to cause harm to employees, visitors and/or other people affected by a business. A risk assessment can include:

  • Hazards, fire safety, manual handling infectious disease awareness etc.
  • Tasks: cleaning or using chemicals or other potentially harmful substances
  • Organisational factors: Staffing policies, shift patterns and lone working etc

Who Should Conduct Risk Assessments?

Every employer should be conducting risk assessments on the work that employees are doing. Therefore, if a company, organisation or business employs more than five employees then the results should be recorded with details of any groups of employees/individuals, particularly at risk such as:

  • Preganant.
  • Older.
  • Disabled.

What Types of Risk Assessment Are There?

A basic risk assessment should be conducted and is a simple procedure to follow. Risk assessments look for risks to health and safety but also will establish:

  • Who may be harmed and how.
  • Check protective/preventative measures are effective.
  • Evaluate any risks that may arise from hazards.
  • Decide whether existing procedures and precautions are adequate.
  • Record the findings.
  • Review the assessment periodically and update where required.

An operational risk assessment is a process that identifies risks and benefits and then disturbing the best course of action in any given situation. For example, with any risk management conducting an operational risk assessment should be done at all levels of which the planning process of a project is happening. Not when the circumstances or hazardous events arise. For this reason, risk assessments are a preventative tool for identifying hazards and risks within the workplace operational risk assessments are no different. Operational risk assessments look at risks associated with business interruptions:

  • Employee error.
  • Product failure.
  • Health and safety.
  • Fraud.
  • Loss of key employees.
  • Litigation.
  • Loss of suppliers.

How Do We Conduct Risk Assessments?

Risk assessments should be done in a variety of ways including and not limited to: Audits of workplace hazards:

  • Physical investigations, daily, walking around the workplace to see if there are any immediate hazards.
  • Conducting employee interviews on their concerns of possible risks.
  • Check manufacturer’s instructions or provided data sheets. For example, things like chemicals and equipment in order to identify hazards and then write a risk assessment with the key information involved.

However, it is not always possible to eliminate a hazard completely and as such an employer must look at the least hazardous or harmful way of controlling these risks.

  • Use PPE.
  • Put barriers between employees and risk.
  • Try using a less harmful chemical etc.

All findings when risk assessments have been taking place should be recorded, and then the risk assessments should be put into practice to eliminate risks.

What Are the Benefits of Conducting Risk Assessments?

Writing down the results of a risk assessment and sharing them with employees and other members of staff encourages a culture of health and safety priority is within a workplace. As a result, this promotes compliance with health and safety laws in the UK.

Results of Risk Assessments

In turn, this will decrease the possibilities of accidents and injuries in the workplace, training on health and safety laws amongst our can also give a greater understanding of why proper cheques need to be made. Finally, risk assessments may not be the perfect solution to hazards but it is suitable and sufficient unlawfully compliant a risk assessment should show that the employers made efforts to keep everyone safe within the workplace. We provide many HR policies for our clients, please contact us if you would like to learn more.


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