Effective risk management is a broad process that involves assessing all hazards to the business as a whole – including those your employees face. In the UK, the HSE regulates compliance from firms, while also supporting them with vital resources, including example risk assessments.
Below, we highlight a number of key queries and considerations when developing an effective risk assessment.
Although the HSE provides example risk assessment templates for a variety of different businesses to use as a framework, the organisation states that simply adding your company name to it will not be enough. Firms first need to consider the nature of their operations, premises and customers before creating an assessment that contributes to mitigating risk.
A risk assessment should consider everything in your business that could cause harm, how it poses a hazard and who is affected. It should also outline any internal measures currently in place to safeguard against dangers, and whether further controls are needed to meet full compliance. A suitable assessment should show that full checks were made, all hazards were assessed, all related individuals were considered and that the risk remains low.
In short, your risk assessment should cover everyone in the organisation. However, it’s important to remember that workers in different areas of the firm will face different dangers. In manufacturing areas, inexperienced or shift workers may be unfamiliar with practices or new equipment, which could raise the chance of an incident occurring. Younger workers may not fully recognise particular risks, while pregnant members of staff may be particularly prone to health-related risks.
It is solely the employer’s responsibility to ensure a risk assessment is completed, although the task can be delegated to a responsible member of the team. In many cases there is no need to involve a third party, although guidance is available should you not feel confident that the task can be performed adequately.
Employers don’t necessarily need any formal training or certifications to perform a risk assessment, but it’s advisable to choose someone who is familiar with the workplace premises and has experience of the business’s day to day workings.
Using a tailored HSE risk assessment template and with all of the above points considered, your company can have the confidence to perform a solid risk assessment and protect the health and safety of all staff.
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