In a new blog from the Health and Safety expert in our People and Safety Services team we discuss what to consider when assessing risks within the workplace:
The 5 Steps to Risk Assessing
Step 1 – Identify the Hazard
The first step in the risk assessment process is to identify all the significant hazards associated with the work. Hazards are the things with the potential to cause harm. It is important to identify both the safety hazards that might give rise to immediate physical injury and the health hazards that might cause disease or ill health.
Step 2 – Identify the People at Risk
When looking to identify those people at risk, think not only about the people carrying out particular activities, but also of those who could be affected by those activities. People do not need to be named; rather, general groups or populations identified.
Step 3 – Evaluate the Risk and Decide on Precautions
Risk is a combination of the likelihood that a hazard will cause harm with the foreseeable severity of the injury should it occur. While some hazards create risk to safety, i.e. immediate physical injury, many hazards create risk to health. For example, many chemicals create health risks. These risks may be acute or chronic in nature. When deciding on precautions there are some general “Principles of prevention” that must be applied to eliminate hazards and reduce risk. These can be found in the Management of Health & Safety Regulations.
Step 4 – Record Significant Findings and Implement Them
At this stage, you should have identified measures you are already taking to keep your staff safe, as well as actions that you could take to improve things further. You need to decide how you are going to put these actions in place. Once you have decided what measures you need to do to keep your staff safe, you need to put them into action. Remember, paperwork on its own makes no difference; only when you have taken actions will you be protecting people.
Step 5 – Review and Update
By talking to your staff and monitoring incident rates and control measures, you will be able to judge whether your control measures are effective. Managers and staff must be given responsibility to oversee the process and develop reporting procedures, discussing and helping to implement solutions, as well as monitoring the solutions for effectiveness. This is also a requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, a Risk Assessment must be reviewed and amended as necessary if there is a reason to suspect that it is no longer valid or there has been a significant change.
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