What is a Risk Assessment?
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
As a fundamental part of any health and safety management system, an assessment of risk is a systematic process of identifying and evaluating potential hazards in the workplace. The purpose of a risk assessment is to assess the likelihood and severity of harm that could occur, and to identify measures to eliminate, control or reduce those risks. In this article we’ll look at what they are, who should do them, starting with the first step of a risk assessment and beyond. We also answer the question; “what is a dynamic risk assessment?”
Table of contents
What is a Risk Assessment?
A risk assessment involves a careful examination of the workplace and work activities, taking into account the people who may be affected, the hazards present, and the existing controls in place to manage those hazards. The assessment should be based on information obtained from a variety of sources, including site inspections, incident reports, industry guidelines, and input from workers and their representatives.
Importance of Recording The Results Of The Assessment
It is essential to record the findings of a risk assessment in order to demonstrate that the process has been carried out, and to provide a basis for future review and improvement. The level of detail required in the recording of a risk assessment will depend on the size and complexity of the workplace, but it should always include a description of the hazards identified, the people at risk, the likelihood and severity of harm, and the measures to be taken to control or reduce those risks.
Who Should Undertake a Risk Assessment?
Risk assessments should be carried out by people who are competent to do them. They need the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to be able to identify and evaluate potential hazards in the workplace. This may include managers, supervisors, health and safety professionals, or workers with specific responsibilities for health and safety.
It is important that those carrying out assessments receive appropriate training to ensure that they are able to identify hazards and assess risks effectively. Training should cover the legal requirements for risk assessments, the principles of risk assessment, the identification and evaluation of hazards, and the selection and implementation of appropriate control measures.
Key Steps in the Risk Assessment Process
There are a number of key steps involved in the assessment process. These include:
- Identifying the hazards – this involves a systematic examination of the workplace and work activities to identify potential hazards. Hazards may include physical, chemical, biological, and psychological hazards.
- Identifying who may be harmed – this involves identifying the people who may be at risk from the hazards identified, including employees, contractors, visitors, and members of the public.
- Assessing the risks – this involves evaluating the likelihood and severity of harm that could result from the identified hazards, taking into account the existing controls in place to manage those hazards.
- Evaluating the risks – this involves prioritising the identified hazards based on their level of risk, and determining which hazards require immediate action.
- Implementing control measures – this involves selecting and implementing appropriate control measures to eliminate, control or reduce the risks identified.
- Reviewing and updating the risk assessment – this involves reviewing the assessment regularly to ensure that it remains up-to-date and relevant, and updating it as necessary.
So What Is A Dynamic Risk Assessment?
When you go into a cafe to see whether they have a spare table, you’re basically undertaking a dynamic risk assessment. Workplaces, as in life, change with objects and people moving around all the time. So what was safe a few moments ago might no-longer be safe. A dynamic assessment is one that isn’t formally undertaken before a task is started, but one that is done “here and now”. Because of this, dynamic assessments aren’t generally written down, because you’re assessing the risks as they are right now, while you’re undertaking a task.
Risk Assessment Training
Being tasked with undertaking an assessments can be daunting. So if you’re still wondering where to start, we’d recommend jumping on a training course to increase your knowledge about them and experience of undertaking them. You can also have a look at the Health and Safety Executives website which gives you templates that you can use as a starting point.
Effective assessment is an essential component of any health and safety management system. By identifying and evaluating potential hazards in the workplace, and implementing appropriate control measures to manage those risks, organisations can create a safer and healthier working environment for their employees, and reduce the risk of accidents, injuries and ill-health.
If you are responsible for health and safety in your workplace, it is important to ensure that your staff have the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out effective assessments. Invest in appropriate training for your employees to help them identify and evaluate potential hazards, and to implement appropriate control measures. This will not only help to ensure compliance with legal requirements, but will also help to create a safer and healthier working environment for everyone. At Chris Garland Training we offer a range of workplace safety courses including Introduction to Risk Assessment E-Learning course and we have the ability to create, tailor and deliver a course suited to your specific business requirements. Get in touch with us today and find out what Chris Garland Training can do for you and your team.