What is Risk Assessment? Master the 5 Easy Steps

What is Risk Assessment? Master the 5 Easy Steps
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So then, what is risk assessment? Risk assessment is one of the fundamental themes of any health, safety or environmental management system.

We have created some basic learning podcasts and videos to give you a taste of how of simple HSE management can be. Including this one on how to do a risk assessment!

We aim to help give you a basic understanding of core health and safety concepts and practices. Let’s learn more about risk assessment first….

What is a risk assessment?

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?

Sometimes people get a little freaked out when confronted with the question ‘What is risk assessment?’. Let alone being asked to actually do one! But it doesn’t have to be overly complex.

In the video and podcast, we looked at the ‘Risk Assessment 5 Steps‘ process that you can use everyday to carry out risk assessment in your workplace.

Firstly, let’s provide some context to the question. If you are an employer, what does risk assessment mean for you?

It’s written into UK law that employer’s must control risk by assessing what might cause harm. They then need to 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 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?’

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

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 is important for training purposes.

That’s all folks!

The next time someone asks you ‘what is risk assessment?’, you’ll not only be able to answer them, but you will be able to explain the steps to carry on out (Or you can send them to this post to let them find out for themselves!).

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

Wait, before you go!

Here’s a copy of the risk assessment template and H&S policy document provided by the Health and Safety Executive to get you started….

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 & Safeti School for awesome audio insights into the HSE industry. Helping you to expand your knowledge and your impact.

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