It is a legal requirement to assess the risks in a work place so that there is a plan to prevent and control them. There are a number Of methods to carry out a risk assessment that all work well, especially for more complex risks and circumstances. However most organizations use the straight forward one, which is following the ‘5 steps’. The first step is to identify the hazards. This is when the assessor works out how people could be harmed, when people work in the same work place every day it is easy to forget and overlook some hazards.
So to spot the hazards it is easiest to walk around the work place a see what could reasonably be expected to cause harm and ask the employees what they hint, as they could have noticed things that are not immediately obvious unless being working with it every day. The assessor should also do some research and see if there are any unknown hazards and see if and how they affect the business. Also looking back through accident and ill health records can help identify the less obvious hazards, and should always take into consideration long term hazards to health, like constantly being surrounded by noise or harmful substances.
Step 2 is to decide who might be harmed and how. For each of the hazards identified the assessor or who ever is carrying out the risk assessment needs to be clear about who might be harmed, this can help finding the best way of managing the risk. This is done by identifying groups of people rather than listing names. For some of the employees there will be particular requirements, like young workers or expectant mothers who may be at particular risks, extra thought will be needed to manage the risks, involving the requirements of certain employees.
The people who could be harmed can also include cleaners visitors and maintenance workers who will be owing in an out of the workplace at all times, general members of the public could also be harmed by the companies activities. Also if it’s a shared work place the assessor needs to think about how the work affects others presences as well as how their work affects the company. For each Of the groups identified the employer needs to think of how they can be harmed as in what type of ill health or injury. Step 3 is to evaluate the risks and decide on precaution.
Once the assessor carrying out the risk assessment has identified the hazards they then have to decide what to do about them. The law requires the company to do everything ‘reasonably practicable’, to protect people from harm in the workplace. To do this the assessor has to look at what actions are already being taken, like the controls that are in place and how the work is organized, then to compare this with good practice and see if there’s more that should be done to bring it up to the self set standards. The questions needed to be asked are can we get rid of the hazard all together?
And if not how can we control the risks so that harm is unlikely? When the assessor is trying to intro the risks there are a few principles to follow and that should stay in the same order. Try a less risky option, prevent access to the hazard, organism work to reduce exposure to the hazard, provide personal protective equipment if necessary and provide welfare facilities. Improving the health and safety of a company does not have to cost a lot, e. G. Placing a mirror on a dangerous blind Corner to prevent vehicle accidents is low cost and a Step to prevent risks.
Failure to take simple precautions can cost you a lot more if an accident does happen. The easiest way is to involve staff so that they can be rue of what is proposed to do, and so that it does not introduce any more hazards Step 4 is to record the findings and implement them. Putting the results of the risk assessment into practice will make a difference when looking after people and a business. Writing down the results of the assessment and sharing it with staff encourages this to happen, if the company has fewer than 5 employees the results do not have to be written down.
When writing the results its best to keep it simple, like tripping over rubbish: bins provided, staff instructed, and weekly housekeeping checks. The risk assessment is not expected to be perfect but has to be suitable and sufficient. It does need to prove to have a proper check done, it was asked who would be affected, all the obvious significant hazards and it was took into account the number of people who would be affected/involved was dealt with, and finally the precautions are reasonable and the remaining risks are low and the staff or representatives were involved in the process.
If like many businesses there is found to be quite a lot improvements that could be made, big and small, it is easier not to try and do every thing at once, UT to make a plan of action to prioritize so the more important ones are dealt with first. Health and safety inspectors acknowledge the efforts of businesses that are clearly trying to make improvements.
TO make a good plan of action that the inspectors are happy with it is often best to include a mixture of things, like a few cheap or easy improvements that can be done quickly (maybes as a temporary solution until more reliable ones are done), long term solutions to those risks more likely to cause accidents or ill health, a long term solution to the risks with the worst potential consequences, arrangements for training employees about the main risks, regular checks to make sure the control measures stay in place, and clear responsibilities (who will do one action and by when).
As one task is sorted tick it of the plan so that it shows progress. Step 5 is to review the risk assessment and update if necessary. Only a few workplaces stay the same, as there always will be new equipment, substances and procedures being brought in which could lead to there being more hazards. That is why a review is necessary; to review what is happening on an ongoing basis.
It is best to look at the risk assessment and think whether there have been any changes, are there improvements that still need to be made, have any workers spotted a problem and have there been any new things learnt from accidents or near misses, and then to make sure the assessment Stays up to date. When running a business it’s easy to forget about the risk assessment and reviewing it, until something goes wrong and its too late. If there is a significant change it is important to check the risk assessment as soon as possible and if needed amend it.