A risk assessment is a careful examination of what, in our work, could cause harm to people, so that we can weigh up whether we have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. Workers and others have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures.
Reduce Accidents by Conducting a Risk Assessment
Most organisations understand that by learning how to conduct a risk assessment they significantly reduce the likelihood of an accident in their workplace. In most cases you conduct a risk assessment, record your findings and then put safety measures in place to prevent accidents from occurring. Safety measures may include safe systems of work, equipment, clothing or other.
Risk management involves us as employers, looking at the risks that arise in our workplace and then putting sensible health and safety measures in place to control them. By doing this we can protect our most valuable asset, our employees, as well as members of the public from harm.
Accidents and ill health can ruin lives and affect our business if output is lost, machinery is damaged, insurance costs increase or we have to go to court. We as employers are legally required to assess the risks in our workplace so we must put plans in place to control risks.
Protect Workers, Business and Comply with the Law
Risk assessment is an important step in protecting our workers and our business, as well as complying with the law. It helps us to focus on the risks that really matter in our workplace – the ones with the potential to cause harm. In many instances, straightforward measures can readily control risks, for example, we should ensure spillages are cleaned up promptly so people do not slip. Cupboard drawers should be kept closed to ensure people do not trip. For most, that means simple, cheap and effective measures to ensure our workforce is protected.
The law does not expect us to eliminate all risk, however we are required to protect people as far as is ‘reasonably practicable’. We don’t need to overcomplicate the risk assessment process. In many organisations, the risks are well known and the necessary control measures are easy to apply. You probably already know whether, for example, you have employees who move heavy loads and so could harm their backs, or where people are most likely to slip or trip. If so, check that you have taken reasonable precautions to avoid unnecessary injury.
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