What is a Risk Assessment?
It’s the process by which you consider how dangerous something is and what you need to do to prevent or minimise the harm.
They are a legal requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and if produced and used well, protect your business and your workforce.
A pretty simple process, yet it is the one where our consultants find the most issues when visiting places of work. There are some pretty common failings.
What’s Happened to Risk Assessments?
THSP’s consultants spend more time carrying out site inspections than any other single task. We have been monitoring the comments from their inspection reports to see where the real risks lie, and it is without doubt that the greatest issue they come across daily is poor (or no) Risk Assessments.
Are Your Risk Assessments Good Enough?
Your risk assessment should be about safe working. Sometimes we find that the person compiling the assessment has used a generic template that, when compared with the on-site conditions, couldn’t be followed and in some cases might even put workers at greater risk.
Other times, we find a list of control measures as long as your arm, which would make the original task impossible to perform.
The reason for these common faults is often a fear of “getting it wrong” or mistaking quantity for quality.
What makes a Good Risk Assessment?
Taking time when planning an activity, allows the assessor to consider each step of the task, the potentially dangerous elements to it, and to take steps to eliminate or avoid those dangers.
Whether something is a high, medium or low risk, is a way to convey to those involved in the task how severe the outcomes are in relation to the likelihood of them occurring. Something to remember is that it will always be a subjective opinion and not an objective fact, and therefore, assessors need to overcome this fear.
Some people fear that they may miss something, and that if that thing were to occur, they could be open to prosecution, so they don’t write one at all. Without a suitable and sufficient risk assessment the likelihood of an accident occurring increases. What’s more, if something does go wrong, failing to complete a risk assessment will only add to the likelihood of prosecution.
Whether you have to carry out a risk assessment for building a wall, or to comply with the latest COVID-19 guidance, it is imperative that it is fit for purpose and can be followed by your employees.
With all this in mind, in 2017 THSP launched our Risk Assessment Builder, to take the pain and confusion out of the process. The tool is interactive and takes the user through the process, with helpful hints along the way, to enable a comprehensive and site-specific risk assessment to be compiled. Get a free trial today.