As part of managing the health and safety of your business, you must control the risks in your workplace.
To do this you need to think about what, in your business, might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm. You are probably already taking steps to protect your employees, but legally your risk assessment must be documented and tell you whether you have covered all you need to.
The law does not expect you to remove all risks, but to protect people by putting in place measures to control those risks, so far as reasonably practicable. Your risk assessment need only include what you could reasonably be expected to know – you are not expected to anticipate unforeseeable risks.
The HSE suggest the following 5 steps:
- Identify the hazards present in the workplace.
- Identify those at risk from the hazards, including employees, contractors and visitors. Workers who are particularly vulnerable should also be considered, such as young people, new staff members and new or expectant mothers.
- Evaluate the danger, taking into account the likelihood of accidents. Also, identify and evaluate existing controls that are in place to reduce risks.
- Record findings on a suitable form.
- Review the assessment on a regular basis or when things change, such as when new equipment is installed, processes change or accidents occur.