A risk assessment is an examination of what work could cause harm to people. This will help to see whether there have been enough precautions taken or a need for more to prevent harm. Employees have a right to be protected at from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures. Accidents and ill health can affect a business if output is lost, machinery is damaged, insurance costs increased and possibly even having to go to court. It is a legal requirement to assess the risks in a work place so that there is a plan to prevent and control them.
There are a number of methods to carry out a risk assessment that all work well, especially for more complex risks and circumstances. However most organisations use the straight forward one, which is following the ‘5 steps’. The first step is to identify the hazards. This is when the assessor works out how people could be harmed, when people work in the same work place every day it is easy to forget and overlook some hazards. So to spot the hazards it is easiest to walk around the work place a see what could reasonably be expected to cause harm and ask the employees what they think, as they could have noticed things that are not immediately obvious unless being working with it every day. The assessor should also do some research and see if there are any unknown hazards and see if and how they affect the business. Also looking back through accident and ill health records can help identify the less obvious hazards, and should always take into consideration long term hazards to health, like constantly being surrounded by noise or harmful substances.
Step 2 is to decide who might be harmed and how. For each of the hazards identified the assessor or who ever is carrying out the risk assessment needs to be clear about who might be harmed, this can help finding the best way of managing the risk. This is done by identifying groups of people rather than listing names. For some of the...
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