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Ultimately, it is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that a risk assessment is conducted within a workplace. However, this does not mean that the employer themselves must conduct the risk assessment – they can appoint someone else within the organisation with this responsibility to carry out the risk assessment and comply with all health and safety requirements. This individual must be competent to uphold all health and safety duties, essentially beginning with the risk assessment.

How must an employer ensure health and safety standards are maintained?

Initially, the employer needs to decide upon the individual whose responsibility it is to conduct health and safety duties. Once this has been decided, you need to become aware of all of the relevant health and safety laws which you are expected to comply with.

In the UK:

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002. This legislation deals with substances in the workplace which have the ability to harm individuals, and subsequently how these substances must be dealt with. To comply with this legislation, a risk assessment is necessary.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) then has a step-by-step advisory process which employers can follow if they wish to comply with UK health and safety legislation, as well as risk assessment requirements.

How can the appointed individual carry out a risk assessment?

Step 1: Identify the hazards. This involves anything which can cause potential harm. This can include physical items or chemical and biological substances.

Step 2: Identify which individuals are at risk from these hazards. For example, if there are only certain employees dealing with biological substances in your workplace, then these are the individuals you must aim to protect.

Step 3: Implement control measures. Control measures ultimately protect individuals against the hazards in order to reduce the risk which is associated with them. Therefore, you need to ensure that appropriate control measures are implemented to ensure everything is dealt with properly.

Step 4: Record all of the processes and steps you have conducted during your risk assessment. This will ultimately prove to authorities, if they were to investigate your workplace, that you have conducted a risk assessment properly. This documentation will protect you.

Step 5: Review and monitor your risk assessment regularly. A workplace is ever changing, so your risk assessment needs to be kept up to date to take into consideration new hazards as well as new employees joining. Through doing this, your risk assessment will always be at its most effective.

It is a common misconception that risk assessments have to be time consuming, expensive and a lot of hard work, when they do not. Moreover, if a risk assessment is not conducted and an incident occurs within your workplace which requires repercussions, then your organisation will be in far more trouble for having not implemented the risk assessment procedures in the first place. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and conduct a risk assessment appropriately.

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What Responsibilities does an Employer have in Relation to Risk Assessment?

Health and safety in the workplace is a legal requirement and it is the responsibility of an employer to fulfil this legal requirement appropriately. It is the employer and the management team’s over-riding responsibility to ensure that health and safety is maintained through conducting thorough risk assessments of the workplace. However, the employees, work associates and visitors who enter into a workplace also have a responsibility to uphold the risk assessment and ensure their conduct is appropriate. If risk assessments are not being conducted by the employer properly nor is the employer fulfilling their health and safety responsibilities, they must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

What is an employer’s responsibility for risk assessments?

It is an employer’s responsibility to maintain health and safety. A risk assessment is the most common way to uphold health and safety requirements. Risk assessments do not have to be considered as daunting or as hassle, as they simply are not. The beneficial outcomes from risk assessments will make an employer’s job a lot easier in the long term, as it will allow the employer to avoid injuries and incidents in the workplace.
To ensure that the management team and employees are all collectively committed to health and safety compliance, the employer should ensure that the risk assessment is communicated to all individuals within the organisation. To do this, employers can offer information about the conduct of risk assessments to everyone involved in the organisation.
Moreover, employers can offer training on risk assessments. Training will allow individuals to see and understand each step of a risk assessment which is conducted in their organisation. This will equally inform every individual of the risks which do exist within their organisation, but in-turn assure them that these risks are being protected by control measures for the safety of each individual involved.

Employers can conduct consultation sessions to enhance health and safety standards in their organisation:

Consultation sessions with employees will allow employers to create a collective effort for the maintenance of health and safety. Employers must consult employees and ask for their feedback, whether it is an additional risk which an employee has identified, or whether it is regarding a control measure which in practice doesn’t appropriately protect individuals from the risk.
These consultation sessions will provide an effective form of communication between employees and employers. To make these sessions effective, employees can delegate the safety role to a particular employee in order to represent the views of all employees and work associates involved.

Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations (HSIER):

It is another responsibility of the employer to ensure that each employee is aware of and has access to the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations (HSIER). This will effectively state to employees what their rights are regarding health and safety, and therefore can hold their employers accountable if the employer is not providing sufficient risk assessments or health and safety standards.
A risk assessment is the most noticeable form of compliance with health and safety regulations. If an employer is found not conducting a risk assessment or is doing so but inefficiently, it is a real cause for concern. At this stage, employees must report the employer for lack of health and safety enforcement to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Employers have a lot of responsibility in order to maintain health and safety standards, through means such as risk assessments. However, these responsibilities are all worthwhile as it will protect the employer and employees from more detrimental effects in the long term.

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Employers have the responsibility to ensure that the workplace which is used by their employees, work associates and customers, is safe enough to work in. Risk assessments have the purpose of ensuring that the workplace is a safe place through a process of checks and balances. A risk assessment brings to light all hazards in the workplace and protects employees from these hazards by implementing control measures.
Risk assessments have the purpose of effectively ensuring four aspects of health and safety requirements are maintained:
1) Risk assessments allow the prevention of occupational risks
2) Risk assessments provide information to employees, work associates and customers which otherwise would not have been circulated around the workplace. This is because risk assessments highlight hazards and inform individuals of how these hazards have been effectively managed, to ensure individuals they are safe within their workplace.
3) Risk assessment training will allow individuals in the workplace to be thoroughly educated and trained in their workplace’s health and safety procedures.
4) Risk assessments will ultimately help an organisation to comply with health and safety requirements. Risk assessments will create a culture of health and safety compliance as it demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to safety and protection. This will subsequently relay a message to employees and customers to comply and maintain this health and safety standard.
If a risk assessment is not carried out, then the repercussions can be severe. For example, if an employee is injured within your workplace due to them dealing with a hazardous chemical substance when they have not been protected with necessary protective wear, the employer will be held responsible. The employer may be faced with fines of negligence and this can be crippling.
Therefore, to avoid severe repercussions, it is always wise to train your staff in risk assessments and management. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK have published the necessary steps involved within a risk assessment.

What will happen if a risk assessment is not carried out by an employer?
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, states in its Regulation 3 the necessity of conducting risk assessments. Failure to carry out a risk assessment, which has the purpose of maintaining safety in the workplace, will leave the employer liable for injury. An employer can be accused of being negligent, or for breaching their statutory duties.
The UK case of Kennedy v Cordia (Services) LLP, exposed an employer being held liable for the injury of one of their employees in December 2010 in Glasgow. Miss Kennedy was a home care provider, visiting individual people’s houses, whilst being employed by Cordia (Services) LLP. However, the risk assessment carried out by Cordia (Services) LLP did not take into account the footpath by one of Kennedy’s house visits, which was icy and resulted in Miss Kennedy slipping and injuring herself. This incident took place following weeks of bad winter conditions, yet the employer carried out a risk assessment which categorised the risk of slips or trips as ‘tolerable’.
Following Kennedy’s incident the case was taken to court and Kennedy’s employer was found guilty of breaching the Management Regulations and the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations 1992. It was ruled that the employer had not considered providing its employees with protective equipment following some similar incidents which had occurred previously.
It is clear that as an employer you must ensure the purpose of a risk assessment is achieved and upheld in order to protect the workplace.

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Risk assessment and management training will effectively teach the management team and employees how to conduct a risk assessment effectively. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has standards which they expect to be met with any risk assessment that is carried out. Training can inform each person in a workplace the steps involved within a risk assessment and the necessity behind these steps.

What is included in risk assessment and management training?

Training for risk assessment and management will focus on the purpose of risk assessments, which is essentially to identify hazards which exist within the workplace, how to implement control measures to protect against these hazards and how this can be maintained. The training will be focused upon the HSE’s five steps to conducting a risk assessment.

Initially, training will analyse how an employer can identify hazards properly. This has to be thorough and span across every aspect of the workplace, to ensure that no hazards go unnoticed. These hazards can come in many shapes and forms, and training will highlight each possible hazard which could exist in a workplace – for example physical hazards, biological hazards and chemical hazards.

Subsequently, a training programme will teach employers and employees how to assess the risk level which exists with the identified hazards. Risks will be evaluated across a spectrum, thus: high risk, medium risk or low risk. The risk which is associated with the identified hazard then needs to be taken into consideration to assess which individuals are most at risk. For example, if one of your employees is currently pregnant, they may be more at risk from certain hazards; if you have certain employees who deal with biological substances more so than other employees, then the employees dealing directly with substances need more consideration to protect them.

Following this, training will highlight to employers and employees what range of control measures are available to protect against hazards. It has been suggested that control measures are sometimes expensive or time consuming, or even difficult to implement, but this does not have to be the case. Control measures just ultimately need to protect individuals against the given hazard. For example, if there is a spillage on the floor which has created a wet surface, a wet floor sign to highlight to employees not to walk over this area in case they slip is an example of a control measure in its most simple form.

Training programmes will then explain how to appropriately document the risk assessment procedure. Documentation of each step conducted by the organisation in order to carry out the risk assessment must be produced. This documentation will then make it easier for an organisation to look back and review their previous risk assessments to help them make appropriate changes in the future. Moreover, if an incident does occur with your organisation which is investigated by the appropriate authorities, then documentation of risk assessments will be required to prove that you did take the necessary steps.

As touched upon above, the final part of a training procedure will be highlighting to employers and employees how to monitor risk assessments and review them to allow for changes to be implemented in the future. Naturally, a workplace will change over time as new employees are introduced and others leave. Therefore, a risk assessment will need to be updated in order to take into consideration and protect against these changes.

If your organisation wishes to comply with all health and safety laws and requirements, then training in risk assessment and management is of the utmost importance.

Risk assessments are a vital component to your approach to health and safety in the workplace. Risk assessments effectively identify where the risks are within your workplace and subsequently deal with these risks to protect all of those involved, through implementing measures that will effectively control these risks. It is a legal requirement to conduct a risk assessment, and therefore it is important to comply with risk assessments in order to avoid the sometimes fatal repercussions.

How to conduct risk assessments

1) Initially, it needs to be conducted with identifying where the risks are in your workplace. This can be done by thinking through the processes which occur in your workplace. Is it an area which uses machinery? Does your workplace incorporate the use of particular chemicals? Think about the risks which are specific to your work. If you are struggling to identify the risks, perhaps have a look over the incidents which have occurred within your organisation previously, to establish the risks which caused them.

2) Decide which employees, work associates and visitors will be exposed to these risks. For example, if there are particular chemicals in one room, then clearly the individuals working in that room will be most at risk. Take into consideration the people you have in your team, whether they are fairly young or older, whether they are pregnant etc. Once you are aware of the risks and who in particular may be in contact with these risks, it will become so much easier to implement the appropriate control measures.

3) Choose your control measures that need to be implemented to protect against these risks. You need to balance these risks against the feasibility of implementing control measures; for example, whether the control measures will be expensive or not. Some control measures include preventing access to risks or providing assistance for welfare and first aid. Ensure your employees and everyone involved are aware of the measures which have been implemented.

4) Once you have implemented the controls and communicated these around the workplace, your risk assessment should be in place. Following this, your risk assessment should be continually updated and reviewed to ensure that your controls which have been implemented are still appropriate, as well as checking whether there are new risks which have been identified. The individuals in your organisation will likely be changing regularly, and therefore the risks which will be relevant to each individual will change.

What are some of the important things to remember regarding risk assessments?

When conducting your risk assessment, it is probably appropriate to distinguish between your hazards and your risks. Hazards are regarded as anything which could potentially cause harm; for example, if you work at height, the hazard here could be regarded as working on a ladder. Risks are regarded as the likelihood that these hazards will harm someone, thus the risk could be high or low. The risk assessment is the overall process. Through creating a risk assessment your organisation will have a strong chance of meeting the appropriate legal requirements.

When conducting risk assessments, you need to consider which individuals will be directly involved in the risk assessment process, such as which members of the management team or supervisors will be responsible for conducting the risk assessment. The risk assessment effectively compartmentalises what the hazard is, what the risk is and then what the control measure is.

For example:

Hazard = An employee driving in congested traffic for work regularly.

Risk = That employee will be working for long hours which may result in them becoming tired. Once tired they could lose concentration on the road and this could lead to a collision. Collisions may become even more likely because the driving is in congestion as well.

Control measure = Find an alternative mode of transport for this employee or perhaps change the working hours during which this employee will be driving, to decrease the chance of driving during congestion.

Once an organisation has completed a risk assessment, the workplace is much more likely to be effectively protected. This risk assessment needs to be continually re-assessed and updated in order to ensure that each new individual is assessed and protected, and all new possible risks are identified.

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Health and social care is a sector which has a specific focus upon the safety and well-being of others; therefore, a risk assessment is essential to protect each employee and customer involved in a health and social care institution. Not only is a risk assessment necessary due to ethical obligations, it is a legal requirement. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires each business or organisation to ensure that a risk assessment is carried out to protect their employees and work associates. A risk assessment is essential in the health and social care industry in order to uphold the very ethics of such an industry, as well as to comply with UK legal requirements.
Why are risk assessments necessary in the health and social care industry?
Risk assessments aim to identify all of the possible hazards within the workplace and to subsequently protect employees, work associates and customers from these hazards through implementing control measures. Risk assessments tend to be the responsibility of the management team within a business. Sometimes this means the employees are isolated from this process and are not aware of what has been identified in the risk assessment. This adds risk to a process which is fundamentally meant to reduce risk in the interest of safety. For a risk assessment to hit all of its goals and to be truly effective, the risk assessment and health and safety procedures in place must be circulated around the organisation.
If a risk assessment is not carried out appropriately in a health and social care environment, the consequences can be severe. This industry is caring for individuals who are already vulnerable, so their safety and health is of even more importance. Consequently, risk assessments must be conducted properly.

It has been revealed that during September 2018 thousands of NHS patients were affected by a tech-blunder, which resulted in medical information regarding the discharging of patients not reaching their GPs. This was a particular issue in the East and North Herts Hospitals who have since conducted a search into this tech-problem. The problem was traced back to a Lorenzo software system at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, which failed to send out a discharge summary to GPs regarding information for up to 25,000 patients. Following this problem, a risk assessment was conducted. This risk assessment took place to investigate the 16,000 patients who had been discharged since April. It was able to uncover that of these 16,000, approximately 1,000 had died.
Clearly, a risk assessment was considered the appropriate means to analyse all of the hazards involved and to subsequently decide upon the control measures which can now be used. This effectively demonstrates that even though risk assessments are typically considered to be the first stage of a health and safety procedure within a health and social care environment, risk assessments can also be used following a problem which has arisen.
The safety of employees and customers should be of the utmost importance within any company or organization; however, the essential concept of this in the health and social care industry is even more important. As the previous example has shown, the health and social care industry has been hit by many problems regarding the safety of their employees and customers in the past. Risk assessments need to be conducted to prevent such issues from arising in the first place, and if this can’t be achieved then risk assessments need to be conducted to deal with the problems afterwards. They are essential in the health and social care sector.

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Childcare is a vital sector of our society and there is an expectation that childcare organisations are ultimately safe; to ensure this is the case, a risk assessment is needed. Children are susceptible to slips and trips, but to minimise the risk in all of the incidents, a risk assessment will ensure that the environment is safe and hazard-free for a child to be in.

Risk assessments are a legal requirement. Childcare organisations must comply with UK health and safety legislation in order to avoid the repercussions. If childcare organisations want to remain respectable and compliant with health and safety, risk assessments must be conducted.

Why are risk assessments necessary in childcare?

It is no secret that children can be clumsy, falling over their feet and sometimes injuring themselves. If your organisation has the responsibility of caring for children, then a risk assessment is the first stage to ensuring this is done in an appropriate and effective manner. Risk assessments initially identify all of the potential hazards within a childcare facility. Following the identification of hazards, control measures must be implemented to protect the children, as well as the adults involved in protecting children, and make them aware of these hazards or subsequently shield them from such hazards.

Risk assessments are all about anticipating what could happen, and forward planning for any sort of situation imaginable. If a risk assessment is not conducted and a child is harmed by a hazard that your childcare organisation has not identified, you could be sued for negligence. This can be financially crippling if it takes effect, as well as tarnishing your childcare organisation. Therefore, it is best to protect your organisation at all costs, through protecting the children and employees involved.

In September 2018, a problem was brought to light regarding childcare laws and regulations in India. New childcare protection laws in India have been criticised as being anti-family and overly aggressive, though others agree with the reforms. The criticism arose due to the new changes which have been introduced, including more power being offered to social workers and tribunals such as the Child Welfare Committees (CWCs). This new power allows them to remove children from their parents. It has been suggested that children are being taken away from their families for reasons which some believe do not even constitute child abuse. Therefore, India’s new childcare protection laws have become a subject of public debate and the principles of childcare are being widely discussed.

With childcare being so debated and highlighted at the moment, this will result in childcare being assessed across all different nations, especially the UK. As a childcare professional, you need to ensure that you have taken all of the necessary health and safety steps, as well as documentation of these steps, to prove that you are a compliant and effective childcare professional.

How can you conduct a risk assessment?

1) Identification of the risk or hazard present in your work environment.

2) Who is at risk? Which specific children may be more at risk, or is it the employees and childcare staff that will be at risk of this particular hazard?

3) Decide upon the control measures. Control measures will protect against this hazard.

4) Record each step of your risk assessment. By doing this, you will be able to demonstrate to all relevant authorities that you have conducted the necessary steps.

5) Ensure that you monitor and review your risk assessment regularly, especially when new children are joining and new childcare staff are arriving.

Childcare is a rewarding profession. To ensure that your facilities and childcare organisation is of the best possible standard, health and safety must be maintained. Therefore, knowledge and training of risk assessments is essential.

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Risk assessments are a vital part of any organisation or workplace’s health and safety procedure. Fire risk assessments are perhaps the most important, considering the detrimental effects which could arise if fire risks are not appropriately handled within the workplace. Risk assessments will identify what potential fire risks there are within a given workplace, and subsequently decide the necessary control measures which need to be implemented in order to protect each individual from these hazards. Therefore, fire risk assessments are of the utmost importance if you want to protect all individuals involved with your workplace.

Who is responsible for conducting fire risk assessments?

It is your responsibility to ensure that a fire risk assessment has been carried out, if you are any of the following:

– An Employer.

– The landlord of a property.

– The owner of a property or business.

– If you have control of a workplace or particular premises, such as a building manager or a managing agent.

The health and safety responsibilities of the above people include conducting the risk assessment appropriately and ensuring that this risk assessment is reviewed regularly, especially whenever any new employees start or anything changes within the workplace. This risk assessment needs to be communicated to all individuals involved with the given environment. The control measures put into place need to be tested regularly to ensure that they can protect individuals from fire effectively.

Should the control measures fail, you need to have a plan of emergency for fire related incidents. Because fire is such a detrimental force, this emergency plan needs to be communicated and practiced regularly to ensure every single individual is aware of what the plan of emergency is. Therefore, because this risk assessment is tailored specifically towards fire, employees and everyone involved must be given fire safety training. This training can be conducted by the management team, to ensure that everyone is aware of the dangers of fire and the procedures taken if a fire does take place.

How is a fire risk assessment enforced?

Fire risk assessments will be enforced and checked upon by the relevant authorities in the area. These fire safety officers will ensure that your fire risk assessment has been carried out appropriately and has therefore enforced the relevant control measures needed to protect individuals against fire hazards.

If the relevant authorities deem an organisation’s fire risk assessment inadequate, this will instigate the notice process.

First, the organisation which has not met the fire risk assessment standards will be issued with an informal notice which offers suggestions for better control measures to implement.

Following this, the authorities will issue a formal fire safety notice, which will demand that the risk assessment is fixed and state the ways for this to be done. If an informal and formal fire safety notice do not encourage an organisation to re-assess and improve their fire risk assessment, then penalties will be issued.

What are the penalties for not enforcing a fire risk assessment?

The first penalty which will be issued in relation to an inefficient fire risk assessment will be an enforcement notice. An enforcement notice will be issued if the authorities find that there is a serious fire risk which has not been dealt with by the employer. Following an enforcement notice the organisation will be told how they can deal with this certain risk and the time which the organisation has to conduct this by.

A prohibition notice will be used if the authorities find that the risk of the fire is so severe and has not been dealt with appropriately at all, then this notice will automatically prevent access to this building. Prohibition notices take effect straight away as it is considered a problem of the utmost importance.

If you do not abide by fire risk assessment standards you can ultimately face a fine or imprisonment. Penalties can reach unlimited fines and up to two years in prison, so the decision is taken seriously.

There is the opportunity to appeal with penalty or notice you have been issued by the local fire authority responsible for your area. To appeal these notices, you must contact the local magistrates’ court within 21 days.

Evidently, fire is a serious problem, and therefore all organisations and responsible persons must ensure that they fulfil their health and safety responsibilities to protect employees against fire. If not, the consequences can be disastrous for all that are involved. Therefore, knowledge and training is extremely important.

The hazards and risks present within a workplace can be extensive or minimal – it is entirely specific to your particular workplace. There are some risks and hazards which will be clearly visible within your workplace, but there are some which will be hidden and less obvious. By conducting a risk assessment, your team will be able to effectively identify all of the hazards and risks. Once your risks and hazards have been identified, you are then in a position to implement control measures to protect all individuals involved from them.

What are the 5 Most Common Forms of Hazards in the Workplace?

1) Safety
Safety hazards present themselves in the form of something which could injure an individual in the workplace, such as a spilt liquid on the floor which someone could slip on. If you identify that a spilt liquid is on the floor, this needs to be identified and subsequently controlled, such as through putting a wet floor sign next to the spillage to deter individuals from walking over it.

2) Chemical
This is where you need to consider your specific workplace and how your environment can present certain and specific risks. Chemical risks and hazards might be more apparent and wide ranging in certain workplaces than others. Chemical hazards can appear in the form of carbon monoxide, welding fumes, acid, pesticides and fiberglass fibres. If any of these chemicals are present within your workplace, you need to actively identify these and decide upon what the control measures are to protect individuals against these chemical hazards.

3) Biological
Biological hazards are mostly found in the form of blood, fungi and viruses. As previously mentioned, these biological hazards will not be found within most workplaces. As an employee you might come into contact with biological hazards more often if you work with ill animals or humans, such as in the healthcare industry. Consequently, if you work in these environments you need to be aware of when these biological hazards are going to arise and ensure the appropriate control measures are implemented.
For example, if you are dealing with animal droppings, you should be provided with the appropriate protective clothing and instruments to prevent your direct contact with this biological substance from occurring.

4) Physical
You can come into contact with physical hazards in a variety of ways, and therefore it is important that control measures are flexible to deal with physical hazards when they do arise. Examples of physical hazards can be the heat or the cold, the direct sunlight, or extreme noise which is continuous. For example, if you are working on a building site in the middle of a summer heatwave, the continuous direct exposure to sunlight might affect you badly and therefore needs to be considered as a hazard. It might be appropriate to offer these individuals time away from the sunlight.

5) Ergonomic
Individuals which partake in repetitive work or work within a position which strains their body’s position can cause ergonomic related disorders. To prevent these disorders from occurring control measures need to be implemented to protect the body from injury and illness. This can be particularly difficult to identify because it is not always openly visible or noticeable, but nevertheless it should be taken into consideration.
It is essential for an organisation to consider the particular risks and hazards which will be specific to their workplace. This is a vital component of your health and safety obligations and therefore training and knowledge of risks and hazards is essential.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has created five steps for organisations and employers to follow when carrying out risk assessments within their workplace. It can be daunting and confusing to conduct risk assessments, so these five steps are certainly helpful and provide a thorough guide for organisations to follow.

What is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the UK based body which has the purpose to ensure that health and safety in the workplace is achieved through appropriate means. HSE is responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation and the legal requirement that organisations carry out risk assessments. HSE are also responsible for conducting research into the occupational risks which can exist within UK organisations. Therefore, the acumen of the HSE means that the five steps created hold a lot of weight for organisations conducting their risk assessments.

What are the five steps to risk assessment, recommended by the HSE?

Step 1: Identify Hazards

A hazard is anything which could cause an individual harm. Hazards can be designated into different types, such as: physical, chemical, biological and mental hazards.

For example, chemical hazards can include asbestos and aerosols, whereas physical hazards can include liquid spilt on the floor which an individual could slip on, or constant noise which can be harmful. There is a large range of hazards which can be apparent within the workplace, and it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all of them are identified and documented.

Step 2: Who could be at risk from these hazards?

Within the workplace, there are obviously employees and work associates present, but this also extends to visitors, as it is still an organisation’s responsibility to protect visitors as well. Once your hazards have been identified within the workplace, the risk which is associated with these hazards and who will be exposed to these hazards is the next port of call. For example, an employee who has to drive two hours to work during rush hour will be exposed to more risk than an employee who has to travel five minutes to work. Therefore, if your employee is required to drive for two hours during rush hour, you need to take into consideration what you can do to help this affected individual.

The physical and mental differences between employees might mean that some employees are more at risk to certain hazards than others. For example, if there is a pregnant employee there needs to be a lot of consideration taken to protect them from certain hazards, such as slips and trips.

Step 3: Implement the necessary control measures and ‘take action’.

This process involves the organisation taking into consideration the risk level associated with the hazard (whether it is high risk, medium risk or low risk). Following this, it will be decided which hazards will then be protected by the necessary control measures.

Step 4: Record all of these hazards, risks and control measures.

If an organisation has over five employees, it will be required to carry out a risk assessment. This should be documented, allowing each step of the risk assessment procedure to be written down and re-assessed.

This documentation protects the organisation as it proves that the legal requirement of a risk assessment was carried out. It also allows the following step, which is the review stage, to become a lot easier because it will all be documented.

Step 5: Review stage of the risk assessment.

Once the risk assessment has been completed it must be taken for review, and this must continue to happen regularly. Review of the risk assessment ensures that all hazards were dealt with appropriately, and that all employees who are at risk have been appropriately protected. When new employees join the organisation or in general as changes occur within the organisation, this will demand a new risk assessment be conducted. Therefore, your risk assessment must be continually re-assessed to ensure it stays up to date and effective.

The HSE’s five steps to risk assessment can be very useful in offering guidance to your organisation and the conduct of risk assessment in general. Risk assessments are legal requirements and certainly beneficial, so they must be carried out appropriately.