Health and Safety Risk Assessment

5 Steps of Risk Assessment | Tutorial + Free Course

In this Episode of Safeti School, we take a look at the 5 Steps of Risk Assessment.

Listen to this short podcast episode and read the supporting blog below as the perfect introduction. 

If you would like to learn more, make sure to check out our Risk Assessment Essential Guide. Also, don’t forget to check out completely free online Risk Assessment training course.

Over here at Safeti, we like to make communication easier for you! If you found this podcast helpful, make sure to share it with your workforce or your team as a toolbox talk or safety moment.

5 Steps of Risk Assessment: Breakdown

What are the 5 Steps of Risk Assessment?

The 5 steps of risk assessment are a model used to help us work through the process of risk assessment. 

There are different versions (see image), but this is the one we like most:

  1. Determine the Key Hazards/Risk Factors
  2. Identify Who may be Harmed & How
  3. Assess the Risks
  4. Evaluate Risks and Add Controls
  5. Record and Review
Health and Safety Risk Assessment 5 Steps
5 Steps of Risk Assessment: Health and Safety Executive (UK)

Read on for more detail on these 5 Steps of Risk Assessment….

Download your Free Risk Assessment Template

Basic Risk Assessment Template
Free Risk Assessment Template

Risk assessment is one of the core features of any health, safety or environmental management system.

Download Safeti’s free Risk Assessment Template (Basic) to start developing your own risk assessments and stay legally compliant.

Step 1: Determine the key Hazards

Ask yourself ‘what could harm someone and how?’ Firstly, check accident records to identify any previous workplace injury or illness.

Secondly, refer to manufacturer’s guidelines for safe guidance on how to operate plant and equipment.

coshh concrete dust

We mustn’t forget to consider non-routine or infrequent work activities. It is essential to also consider the potential long-term impacts to health, such as from exposure to noise or dust.

Unless the risk is increased during work activities, ‘everyday’ risks should not be included. Such as using a kettle to boil water in the kitchen, for example. Or walking up and down a flight of stairs.

Step 2: Identify ‘Who might be harmed & how?’

Ask yourself who will be exposed to a particular risk. This might be primarily your own employees. But, there are also other groups of people (or animals!) who may be affected in different ways.

A good example would be the impact of a construction project being carried out in a live hospital environment. Who do you think might be affected?

Workplace Hazards

Of course, the construction workers are going to be most at risk. However, they aren’t the only people who may be affected by the site operations. We have to recognise that there may also be knock-on impacts on other parties.

Those affected might also include patients, hospital staff, hospital service providers and the general public/visitors, for example.

Step 3: Assessing the Risk – Severity and Likelihood

  These two elements should be assessed and given a level of significance e.g. high, medium or low. 

5 Steps of risk assessment: How to Assess the Risk


How bad is the outcome likely to be i.e. the severity of injury or illness?


What are the chances of it happening with the current controls in place?

Using a risk matrix for your workplace risk assessment allows you to look at each hazard separately and decide how significant the risk might be.

The example shown here is a basic ‘Risk Matrix’ – it is quite simple, but of course that makes it easy to interpret and it does just fine for many applications. 

Risk Matrix - Risk Assessment Template
Example - Basic Risk Matrix
Step 4: Evaluate Risks & add Controls 

We need to decide if the risks are at a reasonable or acceptable level, or if we need to put further control measures in place. For those that require further controls, we need to determine and record specific actions.

For those that require further controls, we need to determine and record specific actions.

Responsibility should be assigned to those who are required to take action and a programme (timeline) for completion agreed.

risk assessment swiss cheese model
Step 5: Record and Review

Your risk assessment should be recorded and shared with the relevant people.

Make sure to only include the significant risks. Also, be as specific as possible when it comes to your control measures. What might seem like a minor omission e.g. specific type of respiratory PPE, could be the difference between someone being protected and being exposed to a hazardous material.

Remember, keeping it simple and easy to read (layman’s terms where possible) is very important for training purposes.

5 Steps of Risk Assessment - Animated Video

Here’s a little video reminder of what we have covered with the 5 Steps of Risk Assessment, presented in a way that easy to understand.

If you would like to learn much more on Risk Assessment, pay a visit to our free Essential Guide.

Get Certified on Risk Assessment!

We’ve created an Approved Trainer-led, online course for Risk Assessment. The course provides a step-by-step, interactive tutorial & 1-to-1 follow-up to give you the confidence to carry out Risk Assessment. Access the Course Here.

health and safety risk assessment course online
Play Video

5 Steps of Risk Assessment: Additional Resources

Related Episodes: Hazard and RiskImproving Internal Communications

Risk Assessment Templates – pick up a copy of our fillable, digital risk assessment templates bundle, wit examples.

Risk Assessment: Essential Guide – check out our comprehensive guide to risk assessment

Safeti – pay us a visit at safeti.com for more free content, learning materials and support services

Richard Collins CMIOSH CEnv – connect with the podcast host on Linkedin

Safeti School: for more free, educational HSE content visit the Safeti School podcast page


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