Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

 
Our Services A - Z :
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
 

Risk Assessment

A risk assessment is a careful examination of what could cause harm to people, and the identification of precautions which should be taken to prevent it. It is a legal requirement to carry out risk assessments on all work practices.

You must decide what the hazards are in the workplace for which you are responsible and whether they are significant. You must then introduce control measures to reduce the risk of harm to a minimum.

Hazards include electricity, chemicals, machinery, ladders, vehicles, etc.   Risk is the chance that the hazards will cause harm. For example, electricity can kill if live wires are exposed, but the risk is very low if components are insulated and earthed.

There are essentially 5 steps involved in Risk Assessment.  

Step 1: Look for the hazards.  
Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how.  
Step 3: Evaluate the risks; note existing precautions; identify additional measures 
            necessary.
Step 4: Record your findings.  
Step 5: Review the assessment periodically. 

For most businesses, the hazards are few and simple and checking them is common sense. Precautions may be already in place, or improving them may be simple.

In identifying hazards, ask colleagues for their opinions, consider manufacturers’ instructions and data sheets, and look at the accident book.

Those most at risk of being harmed are new and young employees; visitors, contractors and others unfamiliar with the site or its practices. Don’t forget that longer term employees may have become complacent.

In reducing risk, consider the following:  

(a) Are you complying with specific law, e.g. on machinery guarding?  
(b) Have you considered Industry Standards and HSE Guidance?  
(c) What additional precautions can be taken.

Precautions include physical controls, management, training, written instructions, changing work practices, personal protective equipment and maintenance.

It is best to write down the findings of all Risk Assessments and to record action taken and reviews, although this is only a legal requirement if you have more than 5 employees. You should involve employees in the process and tell them of your findings

Further information is available from the HSE website

 

Don't Miss

Environment

Here you will find information on environmental and planning issues. This section provides a wealth of information including details on how to make or enquire about a planning application, rubbish, waste and recycling information.