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What is a risk assessment?

What is a risk assessment?

As demonstrated in our Risk Assessment Training, a risk assessment is a documented examination of risks that could cause harm to somebody so that you can determine whether there are enough precautions to prevent certain accidents.

Legally, you do not need to take action to remove every risk in your workplace, so long as you are being ‘reasonably practicable’ when it comes to the elimination of certain risks.

Why complete a risk assessment?

Firstly, you are legally required to assess the risks in your workplace so that you put in place a plan to control the risks. So even if you put moral reasons aside, you have a duty to complete risk assessments in the workplace to avoid prosecution.

As well as helping you comply with legislation, risk assessments help to:

  • Create awareness of existing hazards and potential risks
  • Identify the individuals who may be at risk (e.g. employees, visitors, the public, etc)
  • Determine whether a control program is required for a particular hazard
  • Determine if existing control measures are adequate or if more should be done
  • Prevent injuries or illnesses, especially when done at the design or planning stage
  • Prioritize hazards and control measures

The most common types of hazards

Physical - Physical hazards are the most common types of hazard in the workplace. This category of hazard includes slips & trips, loud noise, lack of lighting, and vibration.

Ergonomic - Ergonomic hazards are a type of hazard that cause damage to a person's musculoskeletal system. This can be something as simple as having DSE improperly set up, or poor manual handling techniques.

Biological - Biological hazards are a type of hazard that includes bacteria and viruses that cause harm to a person’s health. This includes Legionella bacteria and food-related viruses like salmonella.

Chemical - Chemical hazards are a type of hazard relating to certain substances. There are many chemical hazards in most workplaces, as they are inclusive of cleaning products like bleaches & soaps.

Use our free risk assessment tool to help create a safer workplace!