Controlling the risks in the workplace
As part of managing the health and safety of your business you must control the risks in your workplace. To do this you need to think about what might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm. This is known as risk assessment and it is something you are required by law to carry out. If you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write anything down.
A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork , but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace. You are probably already taking steps to protect your employees, but your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have covered all you need to.
Think about how accidents and ill health could happen and concentrate on real risks – those that are most likely and which will cause the most harm.
For some risks, other regulations require particular control measures. Your assessment can help you identify where you need to look at certain risks and these particular control measures in more detail. These control measures do not have to be assessed separately but can be considered as part of, or an extension of, your overall risk assessment.
How to assess the risks in your workplace
- Identify the hazards
- Decide who might be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
- Record your significant findings
- Review your assessment and update if necessary
Many organisations, where you are confident you understand what’s involved, can do the assessment themselves. You don’t have to be a health and safety expert.
When thinking about your risk assessment, remember:
- a hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer etc
- the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be