Completing risk assessments properly is the only way to avoid accident at work claims and to protect your workforce. There are a number of different ways to conduct risk assessments, some of which are tailored towards specific industries or job-related tasks, but the following guidelines should work perfectly for most sectors.
Hazard-spotting to foresee workplace accident claims
First, look out for what could potentially lead to a personal injury claim. Spotting hazards could involve discussions with employees, reading a manufacturer’s instructions, looking around a workplace or speaking to trade associations. You could also contact the Health and Safety Executive or the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, or hire a health and safety consultant.
Think about what could lead to industrial disease claims as well as accidents at work, such as long-term exposure to dangerous substances, repetitive motions, ergonomic features and workplace noise.
Think about what personal injuries may arise and who might be hurt
Understanding who might be harmed in an accident at work can help you effectively manage risk. Employers have a duty of care towards the public and should consider their wellbeing as well as the safety of their staff. Remember, some workers might have different hours than others, such as cleaners and office workers, and some people have particular vulnerabilities and requirements, such as people who do not speak English well, pregnant women, and people with disabilities.
Evaluate the dangers and consider how to prevent them from leading to workplace accidents
Think about what measures are already in place to prevent workplace accident claims and what else can be done. Employers must take all ‘reasonably practicable’ steps to ensure the safety of their workforce and the public. Consider whether a hazard can be effectively eliminated, and if it can’t be, think about how the risks can be controlled to prevent people suffering injuries. This could involve providing employees with personal protective equipment, organising safe work practices or training employees in how to work safely.
Record and implement your findings
Keep simple records of the result of your risk assessments. You need to show that you completed a proper check, you considered who could be injured, you dealt with hazards, that this effectively controlled risk, and that staff or representatives were involved in the process. This is legally mandatory for businesses with more than five employees and is good practice for smaller companies.
Implementing your findings does not have to be expensive. Make a plan of action and complete the most important tasks first. Do not allow work to continue if hazards still pose a danger to people.
Review your findings regularly
Recording your findings will help you review and update them regularly. When new risks come in, or when significant changes occur, then complete a risk assessment to ensure any dangers are controlled. Risk assessments can become invalid over time, and new procedures and substances can create additional dangers. Accidents at work or industrial disease claims should also prompt you to update your risk assessment. There is no set length of time by which risk assessments should be reviewed, so schedule a complete review when necessary.