Carrying out a risk assessment

Determine Risks

It’s an employers job to determine the health and safety hazards that their workers may be exposed to. As part of these checks, employers have to consistently screen for any physical, mental, chemical and or biological risks in the workplace.

Risks can be categorised as:

Physical, can include manual handling, noise pollution and broken machinery.
Mental can be seen as an umbrella term for stress, discrimination, and unfair workloads, these might also be known as ‘psychosocial’ hazards.
Chemical means any chemical substances that could cause the body physical harm, e.g. smoke, cleaning products, along with aerosols.
Biological describes an employee’s exposure to infectious, contagious diseases such as tetanus and osteomyelitis.

Who will be harmed, how could this occur

To determine who in danger, you must look at the company’s own full- and part-time workers. Employers also have to consider hazards to contract staff, visitors and clients, along with members of the general public, if applicable.

As an employer, it’s also your duty to inspect work methods along with the range of areas that workers may be sited, e.g.

In an office, chairs must be adjusted to suit each employee to prevent back pain.
Swimming baths must employ lifeguards to ensure members of the public are not running, or diving into the pool.
Scientists working in a lab must be provided with protective equipment where working with harmful substances.

Do something about the risks 

The point of a risk assessment is for employers to analyse the likelihood that each risk will cause actual damage, by doing this you’ll discover whether it’s necessary to lower said risk. It’s important to consider that no matter how careful we are, at least some degree of hazard will remain. It’s then an employers duty to classify these risks as high, medium or low.

Write up the results 

If you’re an employer with over four members of staff, it’s compulsory for you to put down in writing, the central results of your risk assessment. This is solid proof that as an employer, the risk assessment was undertaken.

Scrutinise the assessment 

Risk assessments should also be subject to scrutiny to assure that improved working methods stay in place, along with taking into consideration any new equipment or practises.