What is Risk Assessment?

What is Risk Assessment?
Safeti School

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We have created some basic learning podcasts and videos to give you a taste of how of simple HSE management can be, including on risk assessment!

Safeti aims to help give you a basic understanding of core health and safety practices. Risk assessment is one of the fundamental themes of any health, safety or environmental management system.

A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, could cause harm to people. This helps identify the actions you need to take to prevent injury and ill-health.

Risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork , but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace.

We explain how a simple risk assessment can be carried out in the animation below.

Click Play below to refresh your knowledge on some basic Health and Safety principles

Do you know how to do a risk assessment?

In this video we are going to look at 5 simple steps you can use everyday to carry out risk assessment in your workplace.

If you are an employer, what does risk assessment mean for you?

It’s written into UK that employer’s must control risk by assessing what might cause harm. They then must take reasonable steps to prevent that harm from happening.

Risk Assessment 5 Steps

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

We mustn’t forget to consider non-routine or infrequent work activities.

It 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?’

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. Those affected may include patients, staff and the general public, for example.

Step 3: Assessing the Risk – Severity and Likelihood 

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

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

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

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 to determine and record specific actions. Responsibility should be assigned to those who need to take action and a programme for completion agreed and recorded.

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, keeping it simple and easy to read for training purposes.

Remember, it’s not about creating mountains of paperwork but identifying sensible measures to control risk to those affected.

For more helpful tips and information on health and safety, you can read our Ultimate Guide to Health and Safety

Also, make sure to check out the Safeti Podcast for awesome insights into the HSE industry that you expand your knowledge and your network.

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