How Effective Is Your Risk Assessment?

8th April 2019

According to the HSE, 80-90% of all accidents are preventable. Implementing Risk Assessments and effective health and safety management systems is crucial to controlling occupational hazards and prevent them from being realised.

What is a Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment is an examination of the hazards that could cause harm to people within your workplace, in conjunction with complying to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. A risk assessment should:

  • Identify potential hazards that could harm individuals within your workplace
  • Identify who is at risk from the hazard
  • Prioritise the identified hazards in terms of whether they are likely to occur and harm an individual(s)
  • Determine measures to be taken to reduce the potential for the risk to harm the individual(s)
  • Implement safety measures to reduce the level of potential accidents/incidents
  • Review and update your risk assessment when appropriate to do so

This examination of potential hazards will then allow you to implement sensible measures to control the risks and prevent accidents from happening.

A risk assessment is imperative to executing an effective occupational health and safety management system. Identifying what is an ‘acceptable’ risk in your organisation is fundamental to your Risk and Safety Management Strategy:

safety management system

Do I need a Risk Assessment?

By law, all employers must conduct a risk assessment as part of managing health and safety within their workplace, and control any hazards deemed unacceptable. All employers who have more than 5 employees working within their organisation must have a written risk assessment available for anyone to access when needed.

Protect your workers and your business reputation from occupational hazards through risk assessments and implementing a cohesive health and safety management system. A good risk assessment will help you become compliant with the law and should be reviewed before works are conducted that may present risks to injury or health, or when major changes are made within the organisation.

It is also important to consider external or environmental changes that may govern whether you need to review your risk assessment. Such as works conducted in hot or cold temperatures.

Read more about temperature related risk assessments by clicking the below images, and access our free downloads and FAQs:

Risk Assessment Template

Risk Assessment Template

What does a ‘good’ Risk Assessment look like?

A good risk assessment should be concise and clear to the reader. A risk assessment spanning hundreds of sheets of paper will be ineffective as useful information will likely be ignored amongst the mass of text. Updating excessively large documents will also become a burdensome task potentially resulting in neglect and effectively an outdated risk assessment and risk management strategy will ensue.

Consideration for the reader is key when communicating potential risks. Ensuring the correct, information is being communicated in a concise, digestible and accessible format will reduce the chances of accidents/incidents occurring.

What should I include in my Risk Assessment?

Your risk assessment should take into consideration what tasks may cause harm or affect individuals both within and external to your organisation. Acknowledgement of existing control measures in place should also be considered.

Your risk assessment must evidence that sufficient checks for hazards have been made in all areas of the business where an individuals health may be put at risk. Any identified hazards posing risks to health must have appropriate precautions and actions implemented to prevent or reduce the risk to an acceptable level.

Making your risk assessment writing process a team effort can go a long way to correctly identifying all the potential hazards that they are likely to encounter during their work:

Risk Assessment

When writing and implementing your Risk or Safety Management System, following the HSE’s Plan, Do, Check, Act template can help to ensure you’ve covered all the requirements needed.

Read about how Lucion implemented the Plan, Do, Check, Act template to Managing Occupational Road Risks:

Risk Assessment

Where can I get a Risk Assessment template?

We believe in knowledge sharing and want to help all organisations, no matter what size they are, effectively implement good health and safety practices for the benefit of their Teams. You can access a free to download Risk Assessment template and guide here:

Risk Assessment Template

Positive Health & Safety Culture

Conducting good risk assessments and collaborating with your Team will not only benefit your employees, but it will also benefit your organisation. Ensuring the safety of your employees will accident/incident related absence days. Your Teams are not only protected but will also feel their safety and well being is being cared for will result in a better working environment. Encourage a better work culture by asking for feedback from your Teams and implementing suggestions that are to the benefit for the majority within the organisation.

Be proactive and make sure your Risk and Safety Management System is effective for the benefit of both your employees and your company.

Further Reading:

Free Risk Assessment Template:

HSE – Health and Safety at Work Act 1974:

Managing Occupational Risks In Soaring Temperatures:

Conducting Risk Assessment for works in freezing temperatures:

Safety Management System (SMS): Occupational Road Risks:

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