Risk Assessment Template
- Risk Assessment
Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team
(Last updated )
Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team
(Last updated )
In this guide, we'll discuss the risk assessment process and guidelines for employers, as well as providing a free risk assessment template.
Jump to section:
- What is a risk assessment?
- Is a risk assessment a legal requirement?
- What happens if you don't do a risk assessment in your workplace?
- When should a risk assessment form be reviewed?
- Who is responsible for conducting a risk assessment?
As an employer, you are legally required to protect your staff from workplace risks. To do so, you must perform a sufficient risk assessment.
Failure to conduct risk assessments at work can have serious consequences for your company. For instance, you may miss a risk or put your staff at risk of harm.
Consequently, they could be injured severely and raise a compensation claim against you at an employment tribunal. And you might face financial loss and reputational damages.
In this guide, we'll discuss the risk assessment process, guidelines for employers, as well as providing a free risk assessment template.
What is a risk assessment?
A risk assessment is the process of evaluating hazards in a specific environment, such as an office, to determine the harm they could cause to others. They’re used to establish what control measures need to be implemented to mitigate the chance of harm occurring.
If you're a business owner who employs staff, you must perform a risk assessment on your workplace. This will help you remove or minimise the Health & Safety hazards in your work area, so you can protect your staff from harm or ill health.
If you've never conducted a risk assessment before, you might be wondering how you go about performing one, and what you need. Luckily, our free risk assessment templates can help you.
Is a risk assessment a legal requirement?
Yes, a risk assessment is a legal requirement for you to perform. According to the Health and Safety At Work Act (1974), employers have a duty of care to protect the Health & Safety of their staff. Which, a risk assessment enables them to do.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999) also states that every employer must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of workplace:
- Health & Safety risks employees are exposed to; and
- Health & Safety risks passersby and general members of the public are exposed to.
If your business owns multiple premises, every building and department must be assessed for risks. And, if you have five employees or more, you are legally required to record the results of your findings.
What happens if you don't do a risk assessment in your workplace?
If you fail to perform a risk assessment in your workplace, it could have severe consequences for yourself and your business.
Most importantly, it may result in your staff being seriously injured - and in more severe cases, fatal incidents. For example, your work environment might contain multiple hazards, such as a blocked fire exit. And if a fire breaks out, staff would struggle to escape through a clear route.
Moreover, as risk assessments are a legal requirement, not performing one would be failure to comply with the law. Consequently, you might be investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, who could enforce legal action. Meaning, you may be hit with fines, and even prosecution.
When should a risk assessment form be reviewed?
The law does not outline how often a risk assessment form should be reviewed. As a guide, the Health and Safety Executive advises that one should take place every year. But, this depends on the size of your business, and the industry you work in.
For example, if you work in welding, you might wish to perform a risk assessment more frequently to ensure your staff aren't exposed to the dangers of welding fume. You should also review your risk assessment if the nature of your work has changed, or if you have more employees than before.
These changes can affect the amount of hazards in your workplace, and increase the risk of harm to staff. So, it's important you remember to review your assessments after any major changes to your business.
Who is responsible for conducting a risk assessment?
You are responsible for conducting a risk assessment of your business's premises. If you're busy running day-to-day operations, you can appoint a competent person to perform the assessment.
But, to be a competent person by law, they must have the knowledge, experience, and skills to do so. For example, they must be familiar with identifying hazards, and have awareness about how to control risks.
What are the different types of risk assessment?
There are five different types of risk assessment you can conduct. Take time to understand each one so you can determine what your workplace requires.
Generic risk assessment
A generic risk assessment identifies common workplace hazards, such as exposed electrical wires. It's a standard form that you could use in any work environment to measure and minimise the risk of common hazards. But, this type of assessment cannot determine the risks of a specific site or project.
Quantitative risk assessment
Quantitative risk assessments use numeric values to measure risk. It uses objective data, such as mathematical formulas, to assign risk ratings to hazards. This helps evaluate the severity the associated risk poses.
Qualitative risk assessment
This type of assessment measures the risk level of hazards by reviewing the probability of a hazard causing harm, and the risk severity of them. An individual performing one may categorise the risk as high, medium, or low. These assessments are based on the individual performing them, so are subjective.
Dynamic risk assessment
A dynamic risk assessment is a type of risk analysis, whereby it's up to the worker to continuously assess the risks and hazards in their workplace. They are typically used by those in an environment that constantly changes, or is particularly high-risk, such as emergency service workers.
Site-specific risk assessment
A site-specific risk assessment is a type of risk management that has been adapted for a specific site or project. Unlike generic risk assessments, it contains information only relevant to the project in question. This type of evaluation only assesses the site's specific conditions and relevant hazards.
How many steps are there in the risk assessment process?
Risk assessment forms and templates usually highlight five key steps in the risk assessment process. These are:
- Identify hazards.
- Decide who is affected and how.
- Evaluate the risk of harm.
- Introduce an implementation plan.
- Recording findings.
Depending on what type of assessment you need to perform, there might be extra steps you need to follow. But, most types of assessment will follow this format in one way or another.
How to complete a risk assessment
There are five main steps you must take in order to complete a risk assessment. Ensure you consider each one carefully, otherwise you might fail to identify, assess or control a workplace hazard.
The steps are:
The first step in any risk assessment is to identify hazards, and therefore, identify potential risks. You might worry you won't be able to identify every hazard in your workplace - but it's important to understand that it's any object, condition or activity that could cause harm. These include:
- Chemical hazardous substances. For example, adhesives, paints and oils.
- Biological hazardous substances. For example, bacteria, viruses or fungi.
- Noise. For example, heavy drilling or the sound of equipment.
It's important to identify hazards and risks as separate factors. Hazards have the ability to cause harm to people, property, or the environment. Risks have the ability to actually cause harm or damage to other parties.
Determine which persons might be harmed and how
Next, you need to assess the probability of persons being harmed as a result of your hazard, and severity of harm it could cause. These implications vary from person to person. For example, a pregnant employee will likely be at higher risk than a non-pregnant employee.
Ensure you consider passersby as well as your own staff members. Remember, you are responsible for their Health & Safety as well, if they are within close distance to your premises or are visiting.
Evaluate the risks involved
Now you've determined what hazards are present in your workplace, and who might be harmed, it's time to evaluate all aspects of the risks involved. You'll need to assess the severity of the hazards identified; and consider how severely they could impact others.
Some risk assessments may identify the need for protective personal equipment (PPE) or safety training for manual handling tasks. From here, you'll have an idea of what further action you need to take to control risks.
The penultimate step of a risk assessment involves implementing protective measures to ensure hazards are removed or reduced. You or your competent person can introduce these measures.
You might wish to use physical resources or tools to control hazards, such as:
- Engineering controls. For example, using ventilation to filter the air if you work in an office.
- Substituting the hazard for something else. For example, using plant-based printing inks instead of solvent-based inks.
- PPE. For example, face masks if you work in a clinical environment.
Now you've identified, evaluated and controlled hazards, it's time to record your findings. Not only is this a legal requirement if you employ five or more workers, but it can also benefit you when it's time to review your assessment.
This is because you can compare the two assessments, and see if the risk of your hazards has stayed the same - or if you need to account for any personnel changes. All in all, it will help you when creating a workplace where your staff feel safe and secure.
Get expert advice on your risk assessment from Peninsula
It's vital you maintain the Health & Safety of your employees by performing a risk assessment. This involves risk analysis, assessing existing precautions and ultimately, controlling hazards.
Failure to do so could result in serious or fatal accidents in your workplace. Consequently, this might lead to financial and reputational damages.
Peninsula offers expert advice on risk assessments, as well as a free basic risk assessment template for you to download.
Our teams provide 24/7 HR advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of your business needs when you work with our HR experts. Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with an HR consultant today.
Risk Assessment Template
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