What do you need to do?
In the UK all companies are required by law to carry out a general risk assessment and to have a written copy of this if you have more than five employees. You then need to do specific risk assessments for vulnerable workers, like young people and new and expectant mothers.
The main element of the risk assessments is accurately identifying all of the potential hazards in your workplace and who is exposed to them. You then need to think about what controls you already have in place to limit the hazards your workers are exposed to and to reduce the level of risk as much as possible, as well as what further controls you need to implement in order to create a safe system of work.
Based on your risk assessments, you would then write method statements that break down any dangerous tasks that cannot be eliminated from your workplace into steps and outline the measures you will have in place, from training to PPE, to make each of these steps as safe as possible.
What are the difficulties involved with risk assessments?
The problem that many people have when writing a risk assessment is that it is subjective. While the HSE website offers guidance on writing a risk assessment, these can only be general guides based on certain industries rather than tailored advice based on your specific workplace, and what one person perceives as a risk may not be the same as another person. Somebody who has worked for 40 years in an industry, for example, would most likely identify different hazards to someone who is newer to that industry, and they would also probably rate the likelihood of a particular task resulting in an accident or injury differently. Also, the risk assessment must be redone annually or whenever there is a change in the workplace that results in new hazards, and a person’s perception of the dangers involved in certain tasks is not necessarily consistent from year to year.
While the law requires the risk assessment to be carried out by a competent person, and a company can give their workers training on the writing of risk assessments and method statements, this can’t remove the role that individual perception will play when a worker carries out these jobs. Also, the feedback we often receive from employees given the responsibility of doing the risk assessment for their company is that they feel they do not have enough knowledge and experience of health and safety to fulfil this role confidently.
Why use a health and safety consultant?
This subjectivity is one reason why many companies choose to use a health and safety consultancy service, like Amalgamate, to help them meet their legal requirements when it comes to the risk assessment. Amalgamate can be employed to give guidance to workers tasked with doing a risk assessment to make sure that they feel that they have access to the knowledge and support they need, or to do the risk assessment on a company’s behalf.
Our objectivity as a third party, as well as our proven track record and years of experience in the health and safety industry giving advice to companies from a range of different sectors mean that you can feel sure that no hazards will be forgotten or underestimated. You can also feel comfortable knowing that you have the proper methodologies in place to reduce the risk in your workplace to the lowest level possible, and that these will be reviewed and developed as your company evolves and grows.
If you have already done general and task-specific risk assessments but are worried that they may not be as comprehensive as they need to be, or your risk assessments need reviewed and you would like help and support in doing this, Amalgamate can do hazard identification exercises and hazardous operations reviews to make sure that all potential hazards have been considered and that adequate controls are in place at every step involved in carrying out dangerous tasks.
If you would like to know more or to find out how we can help you with your risk assessments, call us on +44 (0)141 244 0181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.