Blog Health & Safety – what is a risk assessment?

What is a risk assessment?
The HSE’s definition of a risk assessment is

“….a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether  you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm….”

A risk assessment is a vital element for health and safety management and its main objective is to determine the measures required to comply with statutory duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated regulations by reducing the level of incidents/accidents.

So why do a risk assessment?
A risk assessment will protect both workers and business, as well as comply with the law. Risk assessments should be conducted before employees conduct work on existing, new or unknown parts, using existing or new processes or materials, which could present a risk of injury or ill-health.

A competent person from your organisation with abilities such as hazard identification, ability to categorise and evaluate risk(s). These abilities will allow a ‘suitable and sufficient’ risk assessment to be conducted within your own organisation.

How to do a risk assessment
There are no fixed rules on how a risk assessment should be carried out, but there are a few general principles that should be followed.

Five steps to risk assessment can be followed to ensure that your risk assessment is carried out correctly, these five steps are:

  1. Identify the hazards .
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how.
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on control measures.
  4. Record your findings and implement them.
  5. Review your assessment and update if necessary.