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How to complete a risk assessment for your place of work

Last updated: 05 April 2022

How to complete a risk assessment for your place of work

Your health and safety policy must record the significant findings of risk assessment and any group of employees identified by it as being especially at risk. The policy will be specific to your company and should be clear about who does what, and when and how they do it. It should influence everything you do in business, including the selection of people, equipment and materials, the way work is done and how you design goods and services.

Accidents happen, and first aid and work related ill health must be recorded. If you have five or more employees you must record your health and safety policy and share it with your employees. Even if you have just a couple of employees it can be useful to keep a written record – and your company will probably grow anyway! Write the policy step by step. Download a free guide from the Health & Safety.

Your policy should include a general statement of what you provide and how you will look after the health and safety of your employees. You have to explicitly show you have assessed the risks and made proper checks. You have to also show you have asked and considered who might be affected by any risks. Then you must illustrate how you have dealt with all the obvious significant hazards, taken into account the number of people who could be involved, and that the precautions are reasonable and the remaining risk is low. To keep things simple you can refer to other documents, such as manuals, company rules, manufacturers; instructions and arrangements for fire safety. These may already list hazards and precautions to you don’t need to repeat it. It is up to you whether you combine all the documents or keep them separately.

Specific tasks can be delegated and the names and exact responsibility undertaken should be recorded (for example, a named first aid officer, the name of the person in charge of maintaining equipment etc). List safe plant and equipment and keep safety certificates etc readily available. Safe handling and disposal of waste and packaging must also be outlined. Your company should identify when and where induction training on health and safety will be provided, plus specific jobs requiring training etc.

Of course accidents happen, and first aid and work related ill health must be recorded, plus everyone needs to know the location of the first aid box is and who the appointed first aider is. There should be space to record accidents and cases of work related ill health in an accident book as well as who is responsible for recording accidents. Don’t forget to show you are monitoring health and safety. Also consider emergency procedures – fire and evacuation and how often they are checked and who is responsible for them. Your premises must meet certain fire-safety standards. You need to consider escape routes to safety, fire-resistant door, fire fighting equipment, fire alarms etc.

The information you provide as a result of your risk assessment should be pitched appropriately for our employees, so you must take into consideration the level of training, knowledge and experience. The information must be able to be clearly understood by everyone, and if employees have very little English, for example, you can provide translations or clear symbols or diagrams.

The health and safety policy shows everyone that you have identified hazards and assessed risks, and have eliminated and controlled them as far as possible. You should discuss and review the policy with employees or their representatives for health and safety. Set a review date so you can reassess your risk from time to time. Risks change, e.g. you may bring in new machines and procedures which could lead to new hazards. Do not amend your assessment for every trivial change, but be aware of any significant new hazards and be prepared to make changes where necessary.

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