The need for an employer to carry out risk assessment has been a requirement of health & safety legislation for many years. A summary of the risk assessment requirements is as follows:
a) The Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 Sec 2 - Requires an employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare of his employees so far as is reasonably practicable. The process of risk assessment has therefore to be applied to determine what is “reasonably practicable” action in controlling any particular hazard.
b) Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 1987 Reg 5 - Requires an employer to carry out an adequate assessment of the exposure of employees to working with asbestos. c) The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988 & 1994 Reg 6 - Requires an employer not to carry out any work liable to expose any employee to any hazardous substance unless a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks created by that work has been undertaken and appropriate control measures are identified and implemented.
d) The Noise at Work Regulations 1989 Reg 4 - Requires an employer to ensure that a competent person carries out a noise assessment when employees are exposed to noise levels above the action levels prescribed. Suitable control measures should be identified and implemented to reduce the risk of hearing damage.
e) The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 - Require an employer to ensure that personal protective equipment (PPE) is suitable for its purpose (regulation 4), which implies that a risk assessment should be carried out to match the level of protection provided with the hazard present.