An assessment of what could harm people which helps you decide whether you have adequate precautions in place to prevent anyone from being hurt or from becoming ill.
It enables you to determine whether you have done enough or need to do more.
The person who carries out the assessment must be competent. People with practical experience and theoretical experience of the workplace to be assessed and have the ability to make an assessment of the problem may be viewed as competent.
Alternatively a recognised health and safety qualification such as NEBOSH will show that a person has the correct training to competently carry out an assessment of risks.
When completing the risk assessments it is important that you involve your staff, particularly the people that are likely to be affected by the hazard.
The HSE recommends that businesses follow five logical steps to carrying out risk assessment:
Is anything that can cause harm (e.g. chemicals, machinery, electricity etc.)
The best way to look for hazards is to walk around the workplace and decide what could potentially cause harm. Ignore the minor hazards and concentrate on the significant ones (hazards which could result in serious harm or affect several people).
View a list of possible hazards and other relevant issues that may arise from the side menu.
Risk is the chance that somebody will be harmed by a hazard.
When considering controls the following principles should be applied in the following order:
If you have less than five employees then legally you do not have to write anything down although it is useful to keep a written record of what you have done. If you do employ five or more employees you must record the significant findings of your assessment. You must also tell your employees about any findings of your risk assessments.
In particular you need to be able to show that significant hazards are identified and that the precautions taken are reasonable.
Your risk assessments should be revised on a periodic basis and when new equipment, substances and procedures are introduced.