Health and Safety Risk Assessment in UK

Conducting health and safety risk assessments help to control risks in the workplace. This guide explains how to make a risk assessment as part of business health and safety management.

RISK ASSESSMENT: First of all, you will need to determine what kinds of hazards might cause harm to people at work.

Then, you can check whether the steps you are taking are actually preventing hazardous or harmful situations.

The process is better known as a health and safety risk assessment. It is part of United Kingdom employment laws that require employers to carry out.

Note: Employing fewer than five (5) employees means you will not need to have it written down.

Even so, the main aim of making a risk assessment is not to create large reams of paperwork. Instead, it should identify ‘reasonable and sensible measures’ to control workplace risks.

Most employers carry out some basic steps to protect their workforce as standard procedure. Even so, conducting a proper risk assessment will help determine whether you covered everything required by law.

You should start by considering how accidents or ill health happen in the workplace. By concentrating on the real risks, you can help to avoid most hazardous areas that cause most harm – most often.

Some of the regulations will require particular control measures for certain risk areas. Thus, a health and safety risk assessment can help identify where to look. It can identify certain control measures in greater detail.

There is no legal requirement to assess the control measures as a separate procedure. Instead, you can consider them as an extension to, or part of, the overall risk assessment.

5 Steps to Assess Risks in the Workplace
  1. Accurately identify all the potential hazards and potentially harmful areas in the workplace.
  2. Determine how employees or other visitors might get harmed (e.g. contractors, families of the workers).
  3. Evaluate the risks that you can ‘reasonably’ manage and decide on the best precautions.
  4. Make a simple and focused record of:
    1. The ‘significant’ findings (e.g. the hazards)
    2. How people might get harmed by the hazards.
    3. What steps are in place for controlling the risks in the workplace.
  5. Make regular reviews of what you are doing to reduce risks at work. Carry out another health and safety risk assessment when situations or circumstances change.
Health and Safety Experts

Organisations can choose to employ the services of health and safety experts to carry out a risk assessment. But, you can conduct the evaluation yourself providing you are confident of understanding what it involves.

Even so, as part of health and safety regulations at work, a thorough risk assessment should follow these general guidelines:

  • The definition of a hazard is anything that may cause harm. Typical examples include electricity, chemical substances, working from ladders, and door pinch points.
  • Risk refers to the likelihood or chance that something might happen. The level of risk can be low or it can be high which may cause someone to get harmed. You should use it as an indication of how serious the harm or danger could be.

How to Perform Health and Safety Risk Assessments in the United Kingdom