Let’s talk risk assessment!

The Health and Safety Executive Guidance Document HSG65 applies the ‘Plan, Do, Check and Act’ approach to the management of occupational Health and Safety.  Risk assessment is the second step so, let’s take this step by step as per the guidance;

  • Plan – determining policy and planning for implementation
  • Do – Profile risks/Organise for health and safety and implement your plan.
  • Check – Measure performance – proactively and re-actively
  • Act – Review performance and act on lessons learned.

A risk assessment is a careful examination of anything in your workplace that could cause harm or ill-health.  The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a legal duty on employers to carry out suitable and sufficient risks assessments of reasonably foreseeable risks and to put in place controls to reduce the risk ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’  If the organisation has five or more employees the law dictates that risk assessments are written down, communicated to workforce and others who could be affected and that they are regularly reviewed.

Risk assessments do not need to be complicated, in fact they should be straightforward and easily understood by everyone.  And, everyone should be involved in the risk assessment process.  You might think you know the hazards associated with certain activities in your workplace, but the person who actually does the job may have a more comprehensive understanding and could highlight a hazard that might otherwise be overlooked.

So how are risk assessments carried out?  Quite simply, the HSE advise we use the five steps to risk assessment;

  • Identify the hazards
  • Estimate the risk
  • Evaluate the risk
  • Record your findings
  • Review your risk assessment regularly

Provision of information, instruction and training is mandatory for employers.  If your workforce fully understand the risk assessment process and have ownership through contributing their knowledge and experience to the process, then this can go a long way to improving the health and safety culture of your organisation.

The HSE defines what health and safety culture is; ‘The safety culture of an organisation is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and patterns of behaviour that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organisation’s health and safety management.  Organisation with a positive safety culture are characterised by communications founded on mutual trust, by shared perceptions of the importance of safety and by confidence in the efficacy of preventive measures’

We at Training Solutions (NI) Ltd are passionate about health and safety.  We aim to play our role in delivering courses that really benefit the client and attendees and ultimately make the workplace a safer place.  If you would like us to educate and motivate your team to play their part in the risk assessment process, we will tailor a course to be relevant to your working environment, interactive and practical and enjoyable.  Staying safe and healthy for life – what could be better?

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