Do you have a risk assessment procedure in place for your business, or have you reviewed, simplified or updated your procedure since it was first introduced? If the answer is no, then make sure you read to our simple steps to develop the procedure that works for you and your employees. Workers have rights to safe conditions and the risk assessment process will help identify hazards before they cause injury or damage.
A risk assessment refers to the process that an employer takes on to check for anything potentially harmful in the workplace. The assessment will carefully examine how risky tasks can be when they are performed in a certain workplace. Finding out what hazards are possible is a great way to identify hazardous problems before they occur, which brings us to our first step in risk assessment.
1. Identify Potential Safety Risks.
The first step in the risk assessment procedure is to list all the work areas and hazardous tasks in your business. Checking for physical, mental, chemical, and biological hazards is imperative to ensure that all potential problems are considered.
- Examples of physical risks include long hours on a computer, slipping and falling in the workplace, and lifting heavy equipment.
- Examples of mental risks include: working long hours at a time, having an extensive workload or insufficient support from colleagues and managers
- Examples of chemical risks include working in conditions where asbestos or aerosols are present.
- And finally, examples of some biological risks include the potential to interact with other people who have contagious or infectious diseases, like Hep C.
All of these potential need to be part of your risk assessment procedure as the first step. The best way to identify these is to involve your staff, eg by brainstorming during team meetings, or simply asking them!
2. Who Is At Risk?
Your staff may be employed in different areas of your workplace that require special attention.
For instance, if your employee works at a computer workstation, he or she may need adjustments made to the equipment that is provided. One example is they may not have adjusted their chair, or know it can adjust, so they can achieve the back and seat support that they need, or an employee may need a larger mouse and mousepad to ensure that his/her hands are not cramping up for too long. This adjustment will also reduce her risk of getting carpal tunnel, which can happen if a person spends too much time in front of a computer.
Another health concern is pregnant workers.
- If your staff includes pregnant workers, the proper risks need to be assessed for these employees, too. Whilst general assessments should consider risks to pregnant workers, the law requires you to undertake a pregnant worker assessment as soon as this person has notified you in writing that they are pregnant. The assessment should be monitored as the pregnancy develops, as the worker’s size, shape and general health can change quite significantly. Back problems, fatigue and even space to move easily in their work area are examples of specific areas that need to be considered, not to mention the increased need to visit welfare facilities. As an employer, you need to consider taking preventative measures to reduce or control hazardous conditions.
- The number of hours a pregnant employee can work should also be taken into consideration to reduce potential problems. If the risks from the work area, working hours or tasks are causing detriment to the worker’s health or that of the baby, she must be offered suitable alternative work or working arrangements. If no such adaptation is possible, then paid maternity leave must be necessary to protect the safety of her and her child.
3. Changing Hazards In The Workplace.
If you need to work on top of tall buildings or other areas where work at height is needed, there are ways you can eliminate potential risks.
- Use a route that is already deemed safe. There is no need to figure out another path to get on top of a building if there is a good one set in place.
- Have guardrails around the area that workers need to get to.
- Use a ladder that is secure for a short amount of time (maximum 30 minutes) to prevent falls or slips
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4. Train Your Managers.
When you, the business owner, cannot be on site 24/7 to ensure that your employees are working in a safe environment, you need to hire trained managers to do so.
At PHSC, (which stands for Professional Help at Sensible Cost), we offer expert health and training courses for your managers to learn how to handle topics such as first-aid, fire safety, supervisory tools, and how to do a risk assessment.
Kathy Toft, a Training Manager at Pets at Home Ltd. says that our program is professional and the materials are easy to follow.
5. Document the Entire Assessment & Dole Out the Responsibility
The health and safety of your employees need to be a top priority. In order to complete your risk assessment procedure, it’s important to document all of the findings. Everyone that is part of your business needs to be aware of the hazards to manage the risks.
Once all of the potential risks are identified, it is easier to change or fix them for the comfort of your employees. You are required by law to complete this assessment, so writing everything down will help you prevent accidents from happening in your workplace.
You need to understand who will be responsible for monitoring specific aspects to the assessment plan.
- Who will be your top risk manager?
- Will you hold regular risk management meetings to keep your manager in compliance with the plan?
- Can your risk manager take on a variety of risk management activities to ensure proper safety regulations are in place?
What Does a Good Risk Assessment Procedure Look Like?
To assess the potentially harmful risks that come with working at your business, you should complete an assessment procedure because it is required by law to alert your employees about dangers they may face.
- Identify ANY potential safety risks.
- Figure out WHO is at risk.
- Learn how to control, manage, or change hazardous conditions in your workplace.
- Train your managers so they know how to continue implementing hazard prevention for all of your employees.
- Keep track of what your assessment tells you about the dangers of working in your business for future reference.
- Find a trusted risk manager to oversee potential dangers in the workplace.
We know that carrying out an assessment for your business can seem overwhelming to do on your own. Understand that not all risks will be identified, but we hope that these tips can help you determine the best way that you can protect your employees from danger.
At PHSC, we can give you expert advice on how to understand health and safety requirements that your business needs to follow.
Our accredited courses use straightforward terms to make sure that you are creating the best working environment for your part-time and full-time employees.