A Risk Assessment looks at the risks to the health and safety of employee(s) in the workplace. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Regulation 3 (MHSWR), requires all employers to carry out comprehensive Risk Assessments, to include workplaces and facilities. It is important that all aspects of the working environment are taken into account when Risk Assessments are carried out as many risks and hazards interact.
Where employees of several employers share the same workplace, Regulation 9 and the Code Of Practice says that they may have to co-operate to produce an overall assessment for the workplace. Self-employed workers have a duty to assess the risks to their own health and safety that they are exposed to while at work. Risk Assessments are the responsibility of the employer and should be carried out by a competent person where five or more people are employed and recorded in writing.
A Risk Assessment must be reviewed regularly, usually annually or when there is a significant change in the work or work environment or in the light of subsequent experience. There are no fixed rules about how Risk Assessments should be undertaken.
Steps to Risk Assessment
1. Look for hazards.
2. Decide who might be harmed and how.
3. Evaluate the risk arising from the hazard(s) and decide whether existing precautions are adequate or more should be done. If you find that something needs to be done, be sure to ask:
- Can I eliminate the hazard altogether?
- If not, how can I control the risk so that harm is unlikely?
4. Record your findings.
5. Review your assessment from time to time and revise if necessary.
Risk Assessments will identify circumstances where health surveillance will be appropriate. Generally, there will be a need for health surveillance if there is an identifiable health condition related to the work undertaken and the surveillance will further protect the health of employees. Examples where these conditions may apply include occupational deafness, forms of work-related upper limb disorders and a number of back injuries.
Details of Risk Assessment
The subjects of Risk Assessments include such basic information as job title, work area, working environment and emergency procedures plus non-routine jobs and tasks.
- Description of subject
- Frequency of task
- 1. Actual
- 2. Potential
- Consequences of the risk (minor, medium, severe)
- Workers particularly at risk
- Other persons who are affected (public, contractors)
- The legal standards that apply
- Emergency procedures
- 1. Control measures
- 2. Health surveillance
- Recommended improvements (corrective action)
- A review date
- Signature of competent person