One question our health & safety experts hear a lot from business owners is what is a risk assessment? As an employer, you have a duty to provide a safe place of work. A key part of complying with this duty is the process of identifying risks and hazards in the workplace. This exercise of writing down all the risks identified and how to handle them is commonly known as risk assessment.
Health & safety legislation
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, employers have two key documents to bear in mind as part of their health & safety obligations. These are:
- the health & safety risk assessment, and
- the safety statements.
The risk assessment will inform the content of the safety statement which is a written action programme for safeguarding the health and safety of people using the workplace.
How to conduct a risk assessment
There are 3 steps of risk assessment to bear in mind. These are:
- identify the hazards
- assess the risks, and
- put control measures in place.
Typically, if a business owner doesn’t have the expertise to manage the risk assessment process, they will need to engage an expert professional. As very few owners are health & safety experts, compliance with safety standards can distract a business owner from their core business goals. The cost of hiring an outside professional is also one of the primary disadvantages of risk assessment from an employer’s point of view.
Bespoke risk assessment
The purpose of a risk assessment is to identify the specific risks and hazards that impact a particular type of workplace. A factory presents a very different risk assessment scenario to an office-based business for instance.
This is one of the key principles of risk assessment theory set out in the health & safety legislation. Employers can go a long way toward complying with their statutory duty to provide a safe place of work by beginning with a thorough risk assessment that documents all the specific risks and hazard that are unique to their workplace.
Risk assessment templates
To help employers with the process of identifying risks, assessing hazards and putting control measures in place, we have some risk assessment examples to help give you an idea of what’s involved.
Simply click the download here for your templates.
Finally, to make sure you’re compliant with health & safety law, you should always first seek expert advice.
The penalties for non-compliance range from heavy fines to imprisonment in extreme cases.
Need professional Health & Safety assistance?
Get in touch for professional support on carrying out a risk assessment. We have a 24/7 advice line: 1890 252 923