A risk assessment is an important step in protecting your workers and your business, as well as complying with the law. It helps you focus on the risks that really matter in your workplace – the ones with the potential to cause harm.
In many instances, straightforward measures can readily control risks, for example, ensuring spillages are cleaned up promptly so people do not slip or cupboard drawers kept closed to ensure people do not trip. For most, that means simple, cheap and effective measures to ensure your most valuable asset – your workforce – is protected.
The law does not expect you to eliminate all risk, but you are required to protect people as far as is ‘reasonably practicable’.
How to assess the risks in your workplace
- Identify the hazards
- Decide who might be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and decide on precaution
- Record your findings and implement them
- Review your assessment and update if necessary
What is the difference between a risk assessment and a method statement?
A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have enough precautions or whether you should do more.
As an employer or self employed person, you must do a risk assessment but you only need to record it if you employee 5 or more people.
A safety method statement is not required by law. It describes in a logical sequence exactly how a job is to be carried out in a safe manner and without risks to health. It includes all the risks identified in the risk assessment and the measures needed to control those risks. This allows the job to be properly planned and resourced.
They are particularly helpful for:
- higher risk complex or unusual work (e.g. steel and formwork erection, demolition or the use of hazardous substances);
- providing information to employees about how the work should be done and the precautions to be taken;
- providing the principal contractor with information to develop the health and safety plan for the construction phase of a project.
Our next Risk Assessment and Method Statement course is on the 9th July at Lampeter University.