The need for your company to have risk assessments is what is called an absolute duty. Absolute means that this particular legal requirement has to be complied with and it is a requirement for all companies to have risk assessments carried out.
The risk assessment process requires that you observe your workplace and identify all of the hazards associated with the working activities you undertake. This could be in the office, warehouse or other people’s premises.
Once you’ve identified the hazards you then have to identify who is going to be affected by the hazards. This could be your staff, members of the public, contractors, visitors to your premises, young persons, those with disability and pregnant women. You also have to identify how these persons would be affected by a hazard so are they going to breathe in the dust and fumes are they going to slip or trip on your premises are they going to be affected by the noise that your working practices generate.
Once you have identified the what and the who need to identify the likelihood of the hazards occurring and if it was to occur but is the consequence that is going to occur. So is this a one-off activity that undertaken once a year with minimal risk of injury and therefore could be scored as a low risk or is it an activity that carries a high risk of for example amputation which is undertaken several times a day and therefore be classed as a high risk.
Where there is significant risk this has to be recorded in writing and information shared with your workforce and interested parties.
And the risk assessment has to be reviewed either on a yearly basis or where there is significant change e.g. legislation, new premises or new staff.
Risk assessments do not exist on their own and additional documentation such as inspection regimes, standard operating procedures, action plans and training matrixes would also be produced as supportive documentation towards your safety management system.
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