Risk Assessments

The Management of Health and Safety risks should be a major part of any organisation's risk management programme. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a duty on every employer to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of:

Risk Assessment is simply a systematic look at all activities in an organisation to identify anything that poses a risk of harm and then to decide what needs to be done to minimise the risk of that harm

In order to carry out a risk assessment, it is necessary to have an understanding of the following terms:

Hazard - A hazard is something which has the potential to cause harm.

Risk - Risk is the likelihood that a hazard will actually cause harm taking into account how serious the outcome is likely to be.

The Risk Assessment Process
Risk Assessment is a careful examination of what in the workplace could cause harm and whether there are enough precautions in place to reduce/remove that risk, or whether more can be done for better work practices, and in general consists of five basic steps:

There is no standard way of recording the assessment, however, it is useful to have a standard form used throughout an organisation. The following information will need to be recorded:

Examples of a risk assessment form can be downloaded below.

Risk Assessment Form - Frequency/SeverityRisk Assessment Master
Risk Assessment Form - HSERisk Assessment Master

Evaluation of the Risk
There are different ways to evaluate the risk, and it is useful to use a Risk Assessment matrix to calculate a Risk Rating. The following is an example of a Risk assessment matrix that can be used. This allocates a frequency number and severity number using the following criteria:

Frequency (F)

Severity (S)

The risk rating is obtained by multiplying the probable frequency number (F) by the probable severity number (S)

Risk Assessment - Frequency & Severity

Risk Rating

Risk Rating

When identifying any further precautions that need to be applied the following general hierarchy of precautions will need to be considered:

Having identified the precautions that need to be put in place, it is vital to monitor the progress of the identified actions.

Specific Risk Assessments
In addition to the general risk assessments required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, the organisation will also need to ensure that specific risk assessments are also carried out in relation to COSHH, Manual Handling and Display Screen Equipment.

Further Reading
Further information on Risk Assessments please visit the Health & Safety Executive website at the link below:

Risk Assessments - HSE

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