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How to avoid common mistakes in risk assessments

Somebody performing a risk assessment

A risk assessment is a documented examination of risks that could cause harm to somebody in a particular area or environment. They can help an organisation decide on whether there are enough precautions in place to significantly reduce the chance of an accident occurring.

Organisations are legally required to assess the risks in their place of work, and they have a duty to keep the safety and wellbeing of their employees in their best interest.

Whilst performing a risk assessment isn’t an issue for most organisations, there are a number of mistakes that can be made when assessing risks in the workplace, which might be more common than you think. We’ve put together some tips to help organisations avoid these mistakes...

Involve others

Risk assessments should never be a singular effort. It’s crucial that those performing the risk assessment collaborate with those who undertake the activity they’re assessing in order to produce a more accurate and comprehensive report.

Avoid ambiguous terminology

When performing a risk assessment, you should use terminology that doesn’t leave any room for misinterpretation.

For example, the term ‘PPE’ is a typical example of an ambiguous term used in risk assessments. In most cases, you can specifically state what PPE you’re referring to.

Communicate your findings

There is hardly any point of carrying out a risk assessment if your findings aren’t going to be shared with those who could be affected.

Employers should ensure that their risk assessments are shared with staff and they should also obtain evidence to prove that staff have read and understand the assessments.

There are a number of ways you can share your risk assessments with your staff, including through the use of our Online Document Sharing Tool.

Regularly review your risk assessments

Risk assessments should either be reviewed annually, or whenever something changes and gives you reason to believe the last risk assessment is no longer suitable.

One example of a change that would require an updated risk assessment is if an accident was to occur. Situations like this should make organisations consider the adequacy of the previous risk assessment.

Equip staff with training

Those completing a risk assessment must be competent to do so and be knowledgeable and experienced in identifying hazards and implementing sensible solutions.

IOSH state:

Organisations with a low risk profile can upskill anyone with responsibility for conducting risk assessments. HSE guidance (INDG163 (rev4) ‘Risk assessment – A brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace’) together with interactive e-Learning courses can help achieve this.


Online Risk Assessment Training

Here at iHASCO, we offer an Online Risk Assessment Training course that teaches the user about risk assessments and how to perform them.

The IOSH Approved course, which can be completed in just 30 minutes, provides the user with a printable certificate upon completion, helping show your commitment to The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Additionally, we offer a free Online Risk Assessment Tool that allows organisations to save time and paper by keeping their risk assessments online, granting organisations access to their risk assessments at any time.

To access this feature, simply head over to My Risk Assessment to get this tool for free. When registered, you’ll receive instant access!

Online Risk Assessment Training