Risk Assessment – A black art?

It’s quite simple….Employers must risk assess all work activities and where significant risk is identified take any such measure (so far as is reasonably practicable) to eliminate the hazard or reduce it to as low as reasonably practicable. As this statement implies, there are no employer or type of employer exceptions. There is however, a greater expectation on employers of 5 or more employees, who must record the significant findings of their risk assessments in writing and detail the measures taken to eliminate or reduce them.

In either case, communication and understanding is key, there is no point completing the process in your head or on paper and not explaining the hazards and controls to those individuals at risk from them.

Additionally, risk assessments should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they remain effective in control the hazards and risk.

Make no mistake, risk assessments are a legal requirement!

If an incident/accident was to take place on your premise, risk assessments are one of the first pieces of documentation the enforcement authority or the insurance company will request view of. If these were completed, for example back in 2015 and had not been reviewed and an employee suffered injuries from a fall from height, and the resultant investigation identified a change in practice or equipment which had not been included in the risk assessment, this could be an influencing factor on the enforcement action.

Risk Assessment review procedures

It is good practice to give each Risk Assessment a reference number and review them regularly i.e. you do not have to review all 50 risk assessments in one day. You could review them over a given period whether that is over 1 week or a month, but ensure that they are all reviewed by the given date stated on the assessment.

In addition to regular reviews the employer should be undertaking proactive monitoring in the workplace, which will include compliance checks of the control measure specified in the risk assessments and taking any such measures to amend the content where deviation has occurred and the deviation is deemed to improve the hazard control or initiate disciplinary action against those who are ignoring the control measures stated.

It is important to maintain a safe working environment and where employees feel happy about coming to work it is essential that any additional control measures that have been identified are implemented and communicated to your employees.

Risk Assessments do not have to be complicated and once they are done they can be easily reviewed. If you would like assistance with reviewing or ensuring that what you currently have in place is suitable please contact us on 01525 851752 or email enquiries@ccconsulting.uk.com.