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How to… perform a risk assessment

22 March 2016
How to… perform a risk assessment

Risk assessments are a legal requirement for all businesses in order to comply with occupational health and safety legislation, says Simon Hoe

While performing a comprehensive risk assessment might sound like a lot of hard work, doing so is a legal requirement by which all businesses, however small, must abide.

Health and safety laws are in place to protect you, your employees and the public from risks and hazards which could arise in the workplace - and an across-the-board risk assessment is the best way to ensure that all potential risk is mitigated.

If you succeed in deploying an efficient risk assessment policy that meets the occupational health and safety criteria outlined by the Health and Safety Executive, not only will you enjoy complete peace of mind, your business will be well-placed to flourish.

Depending on the amount of time spent on the planning process, performing a comprehensive risk assessment will help in the following three ways:

â- Create awareness of hazards: By carefully evaluating all aspects of your business for risk, you and your staff will be better placed to spot potential hazards as and when they arise.

â- Identifying at-risk parties: A risk assessment isn't just about identifying specific risks and hazards - it can also be used to help identify vulnerable parties and those most at risk, be that's you, your staff or the public.

â- Establish whether current health and safety measures are adequate: Generally, when a business performs a risk assessment for the first time, improvements will need to be made to bring workplace processes in line with current health and safety regulation.

Simon Hoe is head of digital marking at Shieldyourself

How to carry out your own risk assessment

Risk assessments should be carried out by a competent team that possesses a thorough knowledge of workplace practices, as well as experience in identifying hazards and areas of concern within the business.

To guarantee complete health and safety compliance, a comprehensive risk assessment is absolutely essential. While it's relatively easy to carry out a risk assessment yourself, professional assistance should be sought to better identify hazards and other areas of concern within your workplace.

If you're interested in carrying out your own risk assessment, here are some practical tips which should help you identify

any areas which will need to be actioned in order to maintain full health and safety compliance:

1 Identify hazards

The first thing to do when performing a risk assessment is to identify any hazards. Look at all aspects of your business

and evaluate how specific tasks are carried out. If specific tools or appliances are used, assess their safety and usability.

2 Evaluate the likelihood of injury

Are people working in a particular area of your business prone to injury? If so, how can working practices be improved to

mitigate any future incidents?

3 Review all product safety criteria

From furnishings to electrical components, all office and workplace equipment is supplied with its own safety criteria, which will need to be met to maintain full compliance.

4 Consider normal situations as well as non-standard activity

When performing a risk assessment, it's important to consider normal, day-to-day operational activity as well as irregular, one-off occurrences.

5 Monitor, evaluate and keep a record

In order to carry out a comprehensive assessment, it's important to monitor and evaluate risks and hazards that occur persistently and keep a record of any incidents so that the appropriate action can be taken.

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