A well written Risk Assessment should provide proof of two things:
- That the significant risks associated with a particular task have been properly considered.
- That suitable safety measures are in place to either eliminate risk so identified, or if elimination is not possible, control the risks at an acceptable level.
So a Risk Assessment looks at a particular work activity and sets out those things associated with that activity and which could cause harm or injury. We call these hazards. Ignore hazards that are small, concentrate on the significant ones. A risk assessment then looks at the likelihood (risk) that harm or injury might actually occur. This is called risk.
Hazards are typically classed as Low, Medium or High.
Risk is typically classed as Low, Medium or High.
The Risk rating for any task can be calculated by multiplying the Hazards (remember anything with the potential to cause harm) by the Risk (the likelihood that harm will actually occur). This is called the Risk Rating.
Although there is no standard practice, here at B-Safe we enforce the Risk Rating by colour-coding the outcome. This should always be as low as possible, in the Green or Yellow on the table shown below.
Risk rating is DANGER: An alternative working method has to be devised to reduce the chances that harm/injury will occur.
Risk Rating is MEDIUM: Broadly acceptable to continue but if the risk can be reduced further at little or no cost it should be reduced.
Risk rating is GREEN: The job can proceed provided all risk controls maintained in place throughout the works.
It will then go on to detail how those hazards can be eliminated (eg by doing the work in a different way) or, if that is not possible, how the hazard will be acceptably controlled.
We are noticing that more and more small business owners are now being required to provide written risk assessments for work activities that they have been doing for many years previous. These may be combined with a written system of work known as a Method Statement. This is fine if your business has the resource to do this but what if it hasn’t? Fortunately, there’s a simple solution. Contact B-Safe and we will help you prepare it so you can concentrate on what you do best – running your business! As Safety Consultants, our expertise includes:
- Correctly identifying the significant hazards associated with a particular task.
- Knowing what areas of the Law may also apply to that task.
- Identifying risk reduction measures to make the task as safe as possible.
- Helping clients understand how they reduce the risks faced by their employees and still get the job done safely.
- Providing ongoing support and guidance.
Sometimes Risk Assessments are combined with Method Statements to produce a Risk Assessment & Method Statement. We call these “RAMS” and more information can be found here.