Health & Safety News

News added on 02.06.2014

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Risk assessment

How to get risk assessment right

The HSE has highlighted that some businesses are still getting risk assessments wrong. What are they doing and how can you avoid the same problems?

Over the top. HSE research has identified that many businesses are still risk assessing the most low-risk of tasks. Notable examples include a company which had risk assessed the use of a tape measure; another concluded there was a need to produce written instructions on how to use the stairs. Try to avoid going too far. As the HSE rightly points out, there’s no legal justification for doing this, nor are there any practical benefits.

Not fair. It’s very easy for the HSE to highlight instances of poor decision making. However, it hasn’t been so quick to identify the line at which to stop with risk assessments. This is because there’s no definitive answer. Plus, inspectors from both the HSE and local authorities have a reputation for always demanding more detail in risk assessments - even though the official line is that you should keep it simple. If there’s a serious accident which could have been prevented, you can expect your risk assessments to be called into question.

Use the legislation and approved codes of practice as a guide to what should be risk assessed. In many instances, e.g. work at height, the duty to complete a risk assessment is explicitly detailed.

Many businesses are wrongly risk assessing even the simplest of tasks. The correct approach is to use your risk assessments to make staff aware of significant risks and what they should be doing to stay safe.

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