If you have 5 or more employees you need to have documented risk assessments, but what would prompt a risk assessment in your workplace?
First of all, it is useful to know what the law states when it comes to risk assessments:
(1) Every employer and (2) self-employed person) shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of
(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and
(b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 risk assessment
Carrying out a risk assessment in a workplace is the responsibility of the employer. Risk assessments should be carried out to make an assessment of the risk arising from work activities, and ensure that appropriate control measures are in place.
So, when should a risk assessment be carried out?
When starting new activities
If your organisation has implemented a new activity or process that has not been risk assessed, it makes sense that a risk assessment process must be followed to assess these risks and identify the controls needed. In this situation, a risk assessment should be carried out before you start the task.
By documenting the risks along with the control measures required, and communicating this activity, you will be following best practices and helping to keep your staff safe.
Changes to activities
What about if the work activity changes or a new process is used? What if the activity is carried out in a different environment with new challenges and hazards? What if new technology is introduced? New materials or substances?
Any change to the above conditions will require a new risk assessment procedure. It may simply be a case of reviewing and amending the existing risk assessment to ensure the hazards are controlled to a suitable level. This will need to be documented and communicated to evidence and acknowledge the potential new risks from the changes in activity.
Changes to people
What are the impacts or risks, if the staff carrying out the work, change? If different people or groups of people become involved, this may introduce new people that are at risk and a new or reviewed risk assessment is required.
More information on Risk Assessments
For more guidance on when a Risk Assessment should be carried out get in touch with our team for a discussion.