12 common risk assessment mistakes | Top tips for getting it right
Risk assessment – a systematic approach to identifying hazards and evaluating any associated risks within a workplace – is the foundation of an effective safety management system.
As well as being a legal requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, conducting “suitable and sufficient” risk assessments will help you to recognise and control hazards, raise awareness and reduce incidents, thereby protecting your employees and your organisation.
Free Download: 12-Point Risk Assessment Checklist
Are your risks assessment effective? Use this simple checklist to review your risk assessments and make sure they are compiled correctly, cover all bases and have practical value in reducing workplace risks.
However, things can be missed, which leaves the door open to accidents and ill health. Indeed, the vast majority of serious safety incidents could have been avoided had risks had been properly assessed and managed.
All too often, our Health & Safety specialists find that risk assessments are not in place or, if they are, they are not regularly reviewed, lack specific information and/or aren’t conducted by a person who actually does the job. In many cases, staff simply aren’t aware of their existence.
With this in mind, here are our 12 top tips based on the common mistakes we see employers make when compiling risk assessments.
Ensure that at least two, preferably three, people are in involved in the creation and reviewing of risk assessments.
Involve those who carry out the task / use the equipment in the writing and review of risk assessments.
While the HSE say there is no requirement for those completing a risk assessment to have had training, you should make sure that they are competent. This can be defined as those with the necessary Knowledge, Ability, Training and Experience (KATE) to identify hazards and implement sensible, proportionate solutions.
Within the assessment, ensure that you consider how a person can be injured (i.e. head injury, etc.)
Reference applicable guidance, both from the HSE and trade associations.
Cross reference to other assessments that are in place to prevent duplication.
Avoid generic, ambiguous terms such as ‘heavy’ and ‘PPE’. Instead, use more precise weight measurements, for example ‘<25kg’, and be explicit with the PPE to be worn and the Standard of the PPE item (which is usually found within the item itself or in the manufacturer’s instructions). Similarly, be specific with your statements, for example ‘a person will/must/shall use hearing protection’, etc.
Any risk assessment is likely to require consideration of:
- Health monitoring/surveillance
- Maintenance and inspections
- Pre-use checks
- Previous accidents / near misses
- Safe systems of work for higher-risk activities/tasks/equipment
- Start-up/stop under normal conditions and isolation for maintenance
If using a scoring system, ensure that a defined matrix with definitions is provided.
Communicate the findings of risk assessments to staff and obtain documented evidence that this has been seen.
Ensure that risk assessments are reviewed often and at least annually.
Have an index in place which lists all assessments and the dates reviews are required, to provide a quick reference guide.
If you’re looking to upskill staff, our interactive e-Learning course covers the five key steps to risk assessment and is ideal for anyone who needs to conduct them in their workplace. For larger organisations, we can also put together a risk assessors training package to support internal competence.
Relieve the stress of risk assessment
From an General Risk Assessment of your environment to help formulating specific assessments through expert guidance and templates, our fixed-fee Health & Safety support gives you all the advice and tools you need to simplify risk assessment and stay compliant. It even includes access to our award-winning software, MyH&S, which allows you to monitor actions, build your own assessments, and view your risk status in real time.
To discuss your risk assessment needs and find out more about how we can assist your organisation, call 0345 226 8393 or request your free consultation using the button below.
Sign up for the latest news & insights
Latest News & Insights
6 common long-term sick leave frustrations – and why you can’t just dismiss
BLOG Written by Susie Lockheart on 22 March 2023 The longer sickness absence drags on, the greater the cost to organisations. As such, employers are
New WorkNest Survey Identifies Alarming Link Between Financial Pressures and Employee Underperformance
NEWS Written on 14 March 2023 Our recent survey has revealed that almost half of employers (46%) believe financial pressures are one of the main external
‘Picking on’ or performance managing? How to address grievances from ‘sensitive’ staff
BLOG Written by Alexandra Farmer on 28 February 2023 Performance management is a crucial process that managers use to evaluate employee performance and identify areas
Revisiting performance management | How to avoid legal risks when getting your team back on track
BLOG Written by Emma Chandler on 28 February 2023 Managing your team’s performance is crucial to the success of your business, and the beginning of
King’s Coronation bank holiday | Do employees have a right to time off on 8 May?
BLOG Written by Alexandra Farmer on 24 February 2023 Many Brits enjoyed not one but two additional bank holidays in 2022: one to mark the Queen’s Platinum
Disability harassment in the workplace | Is ignorance an excuse?
BLOG Written by Lesley Rennie on 24 February 2023 Under the Equality Act 2010, employers in the UK have a number of duties towards employees who
Health and safety culture | 7 ways to engage your employees in workplace health and safety
BLOG Written by Ross Henderson on 22 February 2023 Creating and maintaining a positive health and safety culture is essential for any organisation. Establishing safety
WorkNest Launches SafetyNest to Help Businesses Mitigate Rising Health and Safety Penalties for Non-Compliance
NEWS Written on 22 February 2023 Today, we are excited to announce the launch of SafetyNest, our real-time risk management software that ensures businesses don’t
Teacher strikes | 10 things schools need to know about industrial action
BLOG Written by Jane Hallas on 9 February 2023 Industrial action is a major concern for schools right now, and the prospect can cause a great deal