Catering Risk

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Health and safety and your business
a guide for small and medium sized businesses risk assessment (catering)

The myth - Risk assessment must always be long and complex The reality - On its own, paperwork never saved anyone. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself. So risk assessments should be fit for the purpose and acted upon. OK, if you’re running an oil refinery, you’re going to need a fair amount of paperwork. But for most people bullet points work very well indeed. See what we mean – check out the examples inside…..

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Health and safety and your business – risk assessment (catering) rev3 04/08 Page 1

Health & safety and your business Risk assessment (catering) 1. Introduction
It is a legal requirement for all employers and the self-employed (known as ‘duty holders’) to carry out risk assessments. Duty holders are required to assess risks to themselves, their employees and anyone else that may be affected by the business. If a business employs five or more people the assessments must be recorded.

2. Risk assessment in practice
There are no fixed rules about how a risk assessment should be carried out. It will depend upon the nature and complexity of the work or business. There is, however, a straightforward ‘five step’ approach to risk assessment that will meet most requirements. The five steps are: • • • • • Look for the hazards (A hazard is anything that can cause harm) Decide who might be harmed and how Consider how the risk can be reduced. Decide whether any existing precautions are adequate or whether more should be done. (A risk is the likelihood of harm from the hazard occurring and the severity or consequences should it occur). Record your findings Review your assessment and revise it if necessary

There is a blank risk assessment form, a completed example and details of where to find further examples at the end of this booklet. The blank risk assessment form and the examples use the ‘five step’ approach. Remember that risk assessments are a preventive approach to risk management – the precautions that you identify by risk assessment must be put in place and monitored to keep risks under control. It is also important to identify and deal with the greatest risks first.

3. Common Hazards and where to find more information
Table 1 identifies the hazards commonly found in many workplaces. It is not a complete list and you may find additional hazards in your workplace that require assessment. There are many sources of information; duty holders are expected to take reasonable steps to control risks by looking at relevant legislation, guidance, suppliers manuals, manufacturers instructions, reading trade press and seeking advice from competent sources. You should also use relevant examples of good practice from within your industry, so trade associations may also be able to help. The sources of further information in column 2 of table 1 are mainly drawn from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and those marked with a * are freely available from HSE books (www.hsebooks.com , telephone 01787 881165) or the HSE website free leaflets index (www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/index.htm). You will generally find references to more detailed guidance within these documents. There is a dedicated catering section within the HSE free leaflets index. Catering Information Sheets (CAIS) numbers 2, 4 and 5 provide general information on managing, training and priorities for health and safety in the catering industry. There are specific guides for the health and safety of waiting staff (CAIS 20), young people (CAIS 21) and new and expectant mothers (CAIS 19) in catering. Many free leaflets are available in languages other than English.

Health and safety and your business – risk assessment (catering) rev3 04/08 Page 2

Table 1 – Hazards and information sources Hazard
Fire – fire is a significant hazard for most businesses. There are three main causes: • They are started deliberately •...
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