What is a risk assessment?
According to the HSE a risk assessment is a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm.
How will a risk assessment help protect my business?
Accidents and ill health can ruin lives and affect your business if output is lost, machinery is damaged, insurance costs increase or you have to go to court. You are legally required to assess the risks in your workplace so you must put plans in place to control risks.
Recent case study
AN agricultural feed company was fined £16,750 after a worker had his arm sliced off when it was trapped in a cleaning machine. The company admitted failing to carry out a risk assessment at Kelso Mills and failing to provide proper training to the employee. Source: The Scotsman
How do I carry out a risk assessment?
A good place to start would be to use the HSE’s policy and risk assessment template and adapt it to your company. To download the Word document click here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/risk-assessment-and-policy-template.doc
A more in-depth risk assessment may be required for your company but this template is a good starting point to expand on. The HSE also provide example risk assessments for different sectors here.
Risk assessments in training
All employees should be trained in risk assessments to enable everyone in the workplace to look for hazards and ways to reduce them. Training should be given in a basic Health & Safety course.