Risk Management is the key to achieving a successful and positive health and safety culture and a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is all you need to be able to manage risk effectively as long as it is followed. Once written, the assessment must be made available to all relevant staff, and must be discussed so that all hazards and controls are well known and understood by those staff.
A risk assessment is a simple and systematic look at the significant risks involved in a task, activity or workplace. It is a living document that needs to be nurtured, monitored and reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that it is always truly reflective of the current situation. It is used to determine how likely hazards are to cause harm, and to identify the severity of the harm that they may cause. It is used to determine whether we have taken enough precautions already, or to help you decide what further mitigation or control measures are needed.
In many instances simple measures can control risks. These measures could be employing general housekeeping to ensure spillages are cleaned up promptly so people do not slip, or keeping drawers closed to ensure that people do not trip. For most, that means simple, cheap and effective measures to ensure the safety of your most valuable asset.
A risk assessment is required under Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. But this is not the reason that it is so important. The reason it is so important is because staff (people) are our greatest assets and must be looked after properly so that they are able to carry out their work towards the business knowing that they do so in absolute safety. If you employ five staff or more then the risk assessment must be formally documented.
The law does not expect you to eliminate all risk, but you are required to protect people as far as is ‘reasonably practicable’.
I can work with you to write simple but fully comprehensive risk assessments for all activities that you carry out using a very simple risk assessment form. I am also able to provide training and guidance on how to carry these out. I can also provide a risk register / index which will provide an automatic count-down to the review date of each risk assessment and is a useful way of providing assurance that the risk assessment part of your safety management system is being met.