Who can do a Risk Assessment?
I often get asked this question and the simple answer is ‘anyone who is competent to do so’.
So, what is competency? Competence can be described as the combination of training, skills, experience and knowledge that a person has and their ability to apply them to perform a task safely. Other factors, such as attitude and physical ability, can also affect someone’s competence.
The ability to apply knowledge can be illustrated this way; knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, however application is not putting a tomato in a fruit salad!
Therefore, to do a risk assessment, you need to understand what, in your business, might cause harm to people and decide whether you are doing enough to prevent that harm. Once you have decided that, you need to identify and prioritise putting in place, appropriate and sensible control measures.
If you are not enlisting the help of a health and safety professional, then the starting point is understanding what should be included in a risk assessment. In this event then the person responsible should speak to others in the workplace to get their input. Those working in a particular location, doing a particular process or task, etc. will probably know the hazards. The skill is asking the correct questions to establish the hazards. Some hazards may be so obvious to workers that they don’t feel it necessary to point them out. An example could be an open edged loading ramp. It’s obvious not to walk off the edge but the hazard is still there, and someone could be harmed because of it. Therefore, it needs to be recorded along with the control measures and preventative action.
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum you must do is:
- identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
- decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
- take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk
For some risks, other regulations require particular control measures. For instance, forklift trucks fall under both PUWER and LOLER regulations and could require inspection by a competent person every 6 or 12 months depending on what the forklift truck is used for.
You may also consider a ‘dynamic’ risk assessment approach for your employees, particularly peripatetic workers who work on site where risks and hazards can change.
Always seek further advice and information if you are unsure of which regulations apply.
For more information on risk assessments call 0844 8797286 or you can book onto our upcoming Risk Assessment Workshop by clicking this link https://questconsultingservices.eventbritestudio.com/99216596511
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