Risk Assessments and Managing Risks

Risk assessment and managing risk. Hazard identification and assessing risks in the workplace.

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What must you do as an employer when managing risks?

Employers are required by law to protect employees and others from harm.

The requirements under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state that the minimum is:

  • Identify hazards within your business, anything that can injure or cause illness
  • Risk assess and decide how likely someone could be harmed and the severity of it also
  • Eliminate the hazard or if it cannot be eliminated take steps to control the risk

How do you manage risk?

Managing risks and risk management is broken down into the following categories which must each be assessed:

  • Identify hazards
  • Assess the risks
  • Control the risks
  • Record your findings
  • Review the controls

How do you identify hazards when managing risks?

Different workplaces can house many different types of hazards.  An office environment is likely to contain fewer hazards than that of a construction site.

The things that can cause harm in the workplace are called hazards.  When identifying hazards you must consider plant and equipment and how they are used, what chemicals are stored or used, how work is carried out and is it being done safely, the overall condition of your premise’s and its surroundings.

As part of the review, you can look at previous accidents and injuries that have occurred to highlight less obvious hazards.  Considerations must also be made for non day to day things that happen in your business such as changes in work or operations, maintenance cycles and anything non regular.

Some hazards will be obvious such as chemicals or heavy lifting but others will not be as obvious such as work related stress.

Hazards must be linked to who might be harmed e.g. employees, contractors, visitors to your site or even members of the general public.

How do you assess the risks?

Managing Risks

Once the hazards have been identified the next step is to assess the risk.

When you assess the risk you need to consider how and who might be harmed, are there any controls in place, what additional things you need to do, who will carry this out and when by.

How do you control the risks?

Review the controls that you have in place and identify if you can remove the hazard or if not how is it being controlled already or do you need to do additional things to make it safer.

If you think that additional things are needed, consider if things can be done differently, will an upgrade to machines make a difference, can you organise the process differently, can personal protective equipment help control the risk etc.

How do you record your findings?

When 5 or more people are employed the findings must be recorded, however best practice shows that recording findings regardless of the number of employees is a good thing to carry out.

When recording your findings you must record the hazard, how and who might be harmed and what you have put in place to control the identified risks.

How do review the controls?

The controls that you put in place must be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are still fit for purpose and working.  If there are any accidents that happen, or any near misses happen then you should review the controls to ensure they’re still adequate. 

You should also review the controls in place if you have changes to staff, processes or how or what is used e.g. materials, chemicals or equipment.

Do you need help with risk assessments and managing risks?

Like many businesses, a lot do not have the competence in house or do not want to undertake this task themselves.  You see a lot of employers don’t have the right skillset themselves or do not have the time because running a business itself is a mammoth task let alone dealing with all the intricacies of health and safety.

This is where sourcing the right help can be a weight lifted off your shoulders.  But like anything it must be undertaken as a buyer beware exercise.  There are lots of health and safety advisors and consultants in the marketplace, but you need to ensure you find the right one for you.

As an employer, managing health and safety is still your legal duty, so you need to find a company that understands you and your company.

Our team of consultants all have different disciplines so we will have the right fit for you and be able to meet your needs. We can prove competence and be able to help you meet the Government’s stringent laws.

If you want to chat through this or any service more then book a call today with one of our health and safety consultants.

Book your FREE health and safety review surgery with our Health and Safety expert John Crockett IMaPS, SIIRSM RSP, ACIOB.

This is a free 30-minute video call where you get the opportunity to discuss and diagnose any current health and safety compliance issues.

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