PB Safety Consultancy Ltd

Providing clients with CDM & Occupational Health & Safety Services

Risk Assessments

Risk assessments are the cornerstone of health & safety management and are required by UK law for all significant hazards e.g. slips/trips, manual handling, hazardous substances, electricity, violence, stress, vehicles, fire, machinery etc.

We can assist with risk assessments for any activity in any industry.

Risk assessments form the cornerstone of UK health & safety legislation and the requirement for organisations to prepare risk assessments are clearly outlined in a number of health and safety acts and regulations.

In particular the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations require all employers and self-employed persons to assess the risks to workers and any other person who may be affected by their undertaking. Regulation 3 requires that employers should undertake a systematic review of the work that they undertake and record the significant risks and findings of that assessment (Risk Assessment). Risk assessment also fits into a four-part process for risk control, through the setting of health and safety standards, as follows:

  1. Hazard identification
  2. Risk assessment
  3. Risk control – the selection of suitable measures to eliminate or control risks
  4. Implementing and maintaining control measures

Useful Definitions

Hazard: Something with the potential to cause harm.

Risk: The likelihood that the harm from a particular hazard is realised.

What is the Purpose of a Risk Assessment?

Risk Assessments need to be carried out on a regular basis by competent people

Risk Assessments provide an independent and objective assessment and evaluation of

the risks to those carrying specific work activities

They specify the control measures needed to manage the risks

They help to reduce risks to the lowest level, forming part of the safe system of work

Recording the Risk Assessment

Employers with five or more employees must record the significant findings of their risk assessment. It needs to be part of an employer’s overall approach to health and safety and where appropriate should be linked to other relevant health and safety documents (e.g. method statements and the health and safety policy). This record would normally be in writing but can also be recorded electronically as long as it is retrievable.

Various formats can be used, though it is important that employers select or develop a format appropriate to the works that they undertake. Assessments MUST be suitable and sufficient, this means that you must consider all of the potential hazards, those who may be affected by the hazard and implement controls that will eliminate or reduce the risk of harm as far as is practicable.