Risk AssessmentsRisk assessments are the cornerstone of UK health and safety legislation, and as such- not surprisingly – they are a legal requirement that many companies still get prosecuted by simply not having them or a plan to implement the findings.Risk assessments are not there to stop us doing something but rather to make sure that if we do it – it is safe to do. That might mean changing how we do something, or putting extra controls in place – whatever we need to make it “safe”. Risk assessments, as the HSE say, are about risk management NOT risk elimination.ControlsControls put in place to minimise the risk depend upon what the hazard(s) are but could well include things like training, safe systems of work (a documented way of completing the specific task), inspecting equipment and PPE (personal protective equipment) to name just a few examples. How far you go with controls depends upon on the risk – in most cases the law requires you only to do what is ‘reasonably practicable’.What is a Risk Assessment?Many people get worried even at the very thought of having to complete a risk assessment. A risk assessment, at its most basic, is simply determining what the hazard is (fire, entrapment, electrocution etc.), then coming to a conclusion on how likely the event is to happen and the severity of injury should the event happen. Having completed you must decide what the risk is and what (if anything) needs to done to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) have published their “5 steps to risk assessment”. Their 5 steps are:1.Identify the hazards2.Decide who might be harmed – and how3.Evaluate the risks and decide on the required precautions4.Record the findings and implement them
p Providing you credit us with the creation of this article you may publish it without our specific permission.