Wright Safety Solutionsestablished 2006


providing Health and Safety for Coventry and Warwickshire small/medium businesses

Risk Assessments

What is risk assessment all about?

A risk assessement is just a careful examination of a situation at work, and deciding if it might cause harm to employees.

Risk assessments are now required by law. If you run a business, however big or small, the law says you must carry out a systematic health and safety risk assessment. By doing this you may save someone from an injury, and save your company from being sued.

Wright Safety Solutions can help you conduct Risk assessments, and we can decide what in your workplace could cause harm to:

  • you
  • your employees
  • members of the public

There are five steps to any risk assessment. These are:

  • identifying hazards
  • deciding who might be harmed by them and how
  • evaluating the risks and whether enough precautions are in place, and if they are not decide how persons can be better protected
  • recording your findings
  • reviewing your assessments regularly

Note: If you have more than 5 employees all this Risk Assessment process must be in writing.

Wright Safety Solutions has all the documents and the experience to conduct Risk Assessments. The law requires that workplace Risk Assessments be "suitable and sufficient". So if your risks are straightforward and easy to control, your risk assessment should also be simple. Indeed if your business has relatively few risks, you should be able to carry out the assessment yourself, but if you have more complicated requirements it is recommended you get help from a specialist.

What is the difference between hazard and risk?

A hazard is anything that can cause harm. A risk is the chance - however big or small - that someone could be harmed by a hazard. All hazards need to be considered in risk assessments.

A hazard can be something easily seen, such as a trailing cable, a damaged floor or an exposed wiring. Or it can be something less obvious or something temporary - a slippery floor, for example. It can be something general, such as poor lighting. It can be something specific to your business, such as the particular hazardous substances you use like metal cleaning fluid, acid etch, petrol or bleach. It can be something in your waste materials, it can be bacteria or something that can cause disease.

With the help of Wright Safety Solutions you can find all your workplace hazards. When looking for hazards it will be helpful to:

  • walk around your business
  • talk to your employees - they may be more aware of your workplace hazards than you
  • look at manufacturers' instructions and their safety data sheets to identify potential problems
  • examine accident and health records to identify existing problems

We will distinguish between:

  • workplace hazards, such as a workshop's layout
  • activity hazards, such as machinery and transport in your workplace
  • environmental hazards, such as the dust or noise created when using machinery

We will look for ALL hazards and decide how to deal with them:

  • tidy up loose or trailing cabling
  • look out for wet or badly surfaced floors
  • ensure there is adequate lighting
  • check for adequate ventilation
  • ensure that chemicals are stored, handled and disposed of properly
  • prepare safe procedures for handling flammable substances
  • manage waste responsibly
  • fix any bad drainage
  • ensure any ladders and scaffolding are safe
  • improve poorly designed workstations, including IT equipment
  • check for faulty electrical equipment
  • check for any exposure to vibration from tools, equipment or processes
  • ensure vehicle loading and unloading operations are safe
  • check if employees use protective wear
  • provide appropriate training
  • allow sufficient rest breaks
  • check for exposure to excessive work pressure (avoid stress)

During your assessments ideally you'd eliminate all the hazards but in reality this won't always be possible. The law says, however, that you must take all "reasonably practicable" precautions when a hazard is "significant". This means that you must at least consider ways in which you can control your hazards. You won't be expected to spend 100,000 to eliminate very small chemical leaks, for example, if you clean them up promptly as part of your procedure.

Reducing risk can include, for example:

  • reducing the number of times a task is performed
  • reducing the number of times an item is moved
  • fitting guards or security devices
  • providing protective wear
  • improving ventilation
  • servicing equipment more often
  • reducing the number of people working near a hazard etc etc.

but it all depends on the requirements of your work processes.

At Wright Safety Solutions we have all the necessary documentation and experience to help businesses with risk assessments and to deal with hazards. Certain types of work get special treatment with their own Risk Assessment format, e.g. Working At Height, Working with Chemicals, Hot Work, Confined Space, Lone-Working, and some of these jobs are controlled by 'Permits to Work'.

Contact Wright Safety Solutions for more information and advice.

Wright Safety Solutions
John A. B. Wright
B.Sc. (Chem), TechIOSH
safety qualification: NEBOSH (Gen.Cert.)

Tel: (024) 76618235
Mobile: 0779 3880597

safety@jabw.demon.co.uk
http://www.wrightsafety.co.uk

References:

this page first published 30 January 2007
last updated 12 February 2016

Health and Safety for Coventry and Warwickshire small/medium businesses


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