This is the most important aspect of your risk assessment. A good starting point is to walk around your workplace and think about potential hazards. When you work in the same place every day, it is easy to overlook hazards. Follow these tips to help identify the ones that matter:
Ask your employees what they think the hazards are, as they may notice things that are not obvious to you and may have ideas on how to control risks. For each hazard, be clear about who might be harmed—it will help you identify the best way of controlling the risk. This doesn’t mean listing each person. Identify groups of people, such as employees or passers-by.
Risk is a part of everyday life—it is impossible to eliminate each one. However, be sure you understand the main risks and how to manage them responsibly. Generally, you must to do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect people from harm. This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the real risk in terms of money, time or trouble. If possible, eliminate the risk altogether. If this is not possible, you must determine how to control the risk so that harm is unlikely. Some practical steps you could take include finding safer alternatives to current work practices, reducing exposure to a hazard and consulting with workers to ensure their health and safety.
Make a record of your significant findings—the hazards, how people might be harmed by them and what processes you have in place to control the risks. A risk assessment should be able to demonstrate that:
Few workplaces stay the same. Eventually, you will bring in new equipment, substances or procedures that could lead to new hazards. Review your risk assessment on an ongoing basis, and ask yourself:
All employers must conduct a risk assessment. If you have fewer than five employees, you don't have to write anything down. We started the risk assessment for you by including a sample entry for a common hazard to illustrate what is expected. Consider how this template applies to your business. Identify the hazards that are high priority and complete the table to suit. You can print and save this template to review and update the information when needed. You should review your risk assessment if you think it might no longer be valid (eg following an accident in the workplace or if there are any significant changes to hazards, such as new work equipment or work activities).
|What are the hazards?||Who might be harmed and how?||What are you already doing?||Do you need to do anything else to control this risk?||Action by whom?||Action by when?||Done|
|Slips and trips||Staff and visitors may be injured if they trip over objects or slip on spillages||General good housekeeping is carried out. All areas are well-lit, including stairs. No trailing leads or cables. Staff keep work areas clear (eg no boxes left in walkways). Boxes are delivered and stored immediately||