Your 5 Step Guide to Risk Assessments
By Mark Dolan, General Manager, Roof Edge Fabriations
We’ve written in the past about the importance of carrying out a risk assessment so that you can be sure that work is carried out properly and the appropriate equipment selected.
Risk assessments need not be complex and are not about copious amounts of paperwork. You simply need to identify the realistic control methods to ensure a safe working environment. In fact, following these 5 simple steps can go a long way in helping you to protect people as far as ‘reasonably practicable’.
Step 1: Identify the hazards.
Think about what could potentially cause harm and speak to your employees as they may have spotted things you’re not aware of. Review your accident and ill-health records as these can also help identify less obvious hazards.
Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how.
Once you’ve identified the various hazards, think about the type of person who may be harmed, for example, warehouse workers, members of the public, apprentices, contractors etc. Then think about how they may be harmed. Warehouse workers could suffer back injury from lifting boxes, contractors may suffer from hand arm vibration from excessive use of hand held power tools.
Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions.
Now that you’ve identified the potential hazards and who could be at risk, think about what control measures you already have in place to see if you can be doing more. For example, can you prevent access to a hazard by installing a safety barrier.
Step 4: Record your findings and implement them.
Record the results of your risk assessment and implement the actions you’ve identified. Sharing your findings with your staff will help to ensure they’re aware of the hazards and follow the controls you’ve put in place.
Step 5: Review your risk assessment and update if necessary.
Things change over time so make sure you review your assessment and update it when necessary. Ask yourself what has changed, for example have you added a new piece of equipment or changed a process? Reviews should be carried out annually, but if you do make changes during the year, it’s best to review and amend the assessment as you go along.
A risk assessment is an essential part of protecting your employees and your company and helps you to comply with legislation.You’re probably already doing a lot to protect your employees, but following the simple steps I’ve outlined here will help you to make sure you’ve covered all the areas you need to.