What is a Risk Assessment?
The words “Risk Assessment” always seems to be something that employers and managers associate with weeks locked in a dark office producing a document for every single activity carried out within the business including something as ridiculously minor as cutting paper.
Ok, so it is a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and Management of Health and Safety at Regulations 1999 that Risk Assessments are carried out to ensure that you control the risks within your workplace. However, this doesn’t mean you should be up to your eyeballs in paperwork, but rather looking at the real risks within your workplace by identifying what might cause people harm then assess whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm from occurring.
Every day we assess risks, whether it’s crossing the road or looking at allergen information on the food we consume. It is more than likely that you have already assessed the risks and implemented steps to protect your employees; however a documented risk assessment will help you identify any unobvious hazards to ensure you have covered all you need to, and thereby limit liability.
Remember if you have fewer than five employees, you do not have to write anything down, although it is always good practice to document your risk assessments to evidence that the process has been carried out if you are found to be under scrutiny by an enforcing body.