When it comes to health and safety in the workplace, performing a risk assessment is one of the most important steps that managers will need to take. A risk assessment involves taking a close look at the workplace and the current procedures and identifying where potential risks might exist.

Why is a Risk Assessment Necessary?

A risk assessment will help you to spot the possible health and safety risks that are present within your workplace. As an employer or a manager, you have the responsibility to ensure the safety and health of your workers – in all aspects of their job. Conducting a risk assessment is very important, because if you don’t know what the risks are you will put yourself, your customers and your organisation in danger. You don’t want one of your employees to be seriously injured or killed due to a risk that you could have avoided if you had performed a risk assessment and identified it.

Completing a risk assessment and effectively managing health and safety within your workplace is very good for your business. It will keep your employees safer and will also have a beneficial impact on your insurance costs – helping to reduce your premiums and claims. Also, it will help to cut down on lost production time and machinery downtime. Having a safe workplace will also reduce employee absences due to illness and improve productivity and motivation of workers.

A good risk assessment will help to create awareness of hazards and risks and will allow you to identify who may be at risk – whether that is visitors, cleaners, employees, the public, contractors, or any other individuals in the workplace. A risk assessment will tell you whether or not the existing control measures are adequate – or whether more should be done to protect workers and the public.

Also, a risk assessment will help you to prioritise risks. This means that you can determine which hazard is the most serious, so you know which risk to work towards controlling first. The priority of the risk is usually figured out by considering the employee exposure and the potential that lies for illness, accident or injury. The ranking of risks is an objective process that involves judgement, knowledge of workplace activities and the urgency of the situation. When you determine the priority of the risk, you can deal with the most serious risks first and then work on the other risks of lower priority afterward.

How to Carry Out a Risk Assessment

Undertaking a risk assessment is a very important step in ensuring that your workplace is safe and secure. There is no specific way to carry out a risk assessment, but there is a basic outline that you should follow to ensure that you are doing things strategically.

Identify the Hazards

The first step in carrying out a risk assessment is to identify the hazards and figure out what elements in the workplace could potentially cause harm to your employees. Look closely around the workplace and think critically about what disasters could possibly occur.

Who Could be Harmed and How?

The next step is to figure out which employees are at risk and how they could potentially be harmed. This includes looking over the roles of all employees to figure out the safety risks that are associated with each.

Evaluate the Risks and Determine a Precaution

Once you have made a clear evaluation of the risks, you will be able to determine which precautions will help you to prevent these risks. You might need to take different precautions, depending on your workplace and the types of risks that are present.

Record The Findings of Your Risk Assessment And Implement Them

Once you have completed your risk assessment, you will need to record the findings in writing. This is mandatory if you have more than five employees. Also, you will need to implement the health and safety precautions in your workplace. Make sure that everyone understands the procedures and is able to follow them correctly.

Review Your Risk Assessment Regularly

Every now and then, it is important to review your risk assessment and make sure that it is still up to date. Perhaps you might need to change something or add something new – to make sure that it still covers the risks that are prevalent in your workplace. A workplace is not a static environment – there is always new equipment, procedures and substances being introduced on a regular basis.

Whenever changes are made in the workplace, new risks might evolve and hazards that were once ranked as a lower priority might be elevated to a higher priority. You should review your risk assessment whenever you start a new project, whenever you make a change to the machinery or tools used on the job, whenever you hire new employees, whenever you move to a new building or work area, whenever you introduce new chemicals or substances, whenever you hire new employees, whenever new information becomes available about a product that you use in the workplace or whenever any other major changes are made in the workplace.

If it is necessary to update your risk assessment, make sure that the amendment is shared with everyone in your workplace so that they are aware of the changes that have been made.

Health and Safety Training Necessary for Managers

It is important that employers have the correct health and safety training for their workplace, because this training will instruct them on how to properly carry out a risk assessment. Along with the proper procedure for carrying out a risk assessment, managers will also learn other important information about maintaining a healthy and safe workplace.

There is a wide variety of courses available for managers including the IOSH Managing Safely qualification, offered in convenient locations all throughout the country. Also, some courses are offered in e-learning format so that managers can learn on their own schedule. Discover why the IOSH Managing Safely course is so valuable.