Five Steps to Risk Assessment

Risk management is a form of internal control that helps manage an organization and employees with a healthy approach. Grantees will find this promising practice useful when safeguarding the assets of their organization. It focuses on the risks and vulnerabilities in a workplace.

 

Health and Safety

A risk assessment is an important step in protecting your workers and your business, as well as complying with the law. It helps you focus on the risks that really matter in your workplace — the ones with the potential to cause real harm. In many instances, straightforward measures can readily control risks, for example ensuring spillages are cleaned up promptly so people do not slip, or cupboard drawers are kept closed to ensure people do not trip. For most, that means simple, cheap and effective measures to ensure your most valuable asset — your workforce — is protected.

The law does not expect you to eliminate all risk, but you are required to protect people as far as 'reasonably practicable'. This guide tells you how to achieve that with a minimum of fuss. This is not the only way to do a risk assessment, there are other methods that work well, particularly for more complex risks and circumstances. However, we believe this method is the most straightforward for most organizations.

What is risk assessment?

A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. Workers and others have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures.

Accidents and ill health can ruin lives and affect your business too if output is lost, machinery is damaged, insurance costs increase or you have to go to court. You are legally required to assess the risks in your workplace so that you put in place a plan to control the risks.

Step 1
What are the hazards?
Spot hazards by: walking around your workplace; asking your employees what they think; visiting the Your industry areas of the HSE website or calling HSE Info line; calling the Workplace Health Connect Advice line or visiting their website; checking manufacturers' instructions; contacting your trade association. Don't forget long-term health hazards. Company name: Date of risk assessment:

Step 2
Who might be harmed and how?
Identify groups of people. Remember: some workers have particular needs; people who may not be in the workplace all the time; members of the public; if you share your workplace think about how your work affects others present. Say how the hazard could cause harm.

Step 3
What are you already doing?

List what is already in place to reduce the likelihood of harm or make any harm less serious.

What further action is necessary?
You need to make sure that you have reduced risks 'so far as is reasonably practicable'. An
easy way of doing this is to compare what you are already doing with good practice. If
there is a difference, list what needs to be done.

Step 4
How will you put the assessment into action?

Remember to prioritize. Deal with those hazards that are high-risk and have serious
consequences first. Action Done, by whom by when

Step 5
Review date:

Review your assessment to make sure you are still improving, or at least not sliding back. If there is a significant change in your workplace, remember to check your risk assessment and, where necessary, amend it.

Five Steps to Risk Assessment. HSE.Gov. 2004. English.

Last Reviewed: November 2008

Last Updated: November 13, 2014