As we all know, prevention is a far better approach than cure. This applies in the Health and Safety arena as much as in any area of life and the basic principles of Health and Safety in the workplace are grounded in the ability to conduct effective risk assessments. Risk assessments are something that we are all familiar with and conduct in our daily lives without thinking – hopefully we start early in life with the familiar “Stop, Look and Listen” approach to crossing roads. In most cases this most simple of principles is the founding basis of a good risk assessment. With workplace safety being of paramount importance to employees, employers and the public in general, there are, however, a few refinements needed to this basic approach.

Risk Assessment Training

IOSH risk assessment courses are available that provide an excellent basis in the theory and practice of risk assessment in the workplace. IOSH is a recognised body internationally, providing accreditation for training courses and acting as the only chartered body for Health and Safety professionals. While risk assessment is very often a commonsense based task, training can help to ensure that your employees are thoroughly versed in a professional approach and can help to meet legislative requirements for your business – minimising not only risk but the chance of falling foul of Health and Safety regulations, which can be costly and disruptive for firms of any size.

What Should a Risk Assessment do?

Basically, very much what it says on the form! Risk assessments are a legal requirement for businesses and are aimed at identifying hazards in the workplace, ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to minimise risks and eliminating any risks that are evaluated as too dangerous. Identification of risks is straightforward and by using a simple 4X4 grid they can be evaluated; risks are rated in terms of severity; negligible, marginal, critical and catastrophic. This is compared on a scale of probability; extremely remote, remote, reasonably probable and probable. Any risk identified as ‘catastrophic’ and ‘probable’ should immediately be addressed. Risks identified to be at the lower end of the scale should be noted and sensible action taken to manage them. Introducing new procedures or placing warning signs can often be the only action required.

Constant Vigilance

Risk assessments should be reviewed at least annually but in reality constant vigilance should be part of every employee’s working day. We don’t, for example, check that roads are safe to cross only once a year. Risks can develop or escalate at any time and well trained staff should be alert to this fact. IOSH risk assessment training can provide a strong focus and safety ethic in those responsible for creating and managing risk assessments – this focus is invaluable for employers in ensuring that practical, common sense approaches are adopted to risk management at all times.

IOSH risk assessment training should be considered for businesses of all sizes.