Sunday, April 11, 2010

Health and Safety Risk Assessments

United Kingdom health and safety regulations are stringent. Businesses and employers have to be on the ball when it comes to the safety of their staff and workers, and failure to do so can lead to possible prosecution and expense of large compensation pay outs.

In order to comply with the strict regulations employers need to be aware of the risks in the workplace. So it is necessary for them to carry out risk assessments in all sectors of the business.

Since 1974 any employer in the UK with more than five staff must draw up a health and safety policy.

And that policy cannot be drawn up without a number of risk assessments being undertaken. Although these procedures appear complicated the actual process can be boiled down to five basic steps.

1. Any hazards have to be identified.

2. Businesses must identify who might be harmed and how that is likely to happen.

3. Any risks must be evaluated and a decision made on how they can be avoided.

4. The findings must be recorded and then implemented.

5. The assessment must be periodically reviewed and if necessary updated.

Of course, there are no common risks across the wide range of business and industry. Someone working in a supermarket will not face the same risk as someone working on the factory floor.

There are various agencies which help businesses carry out their health and safety risk assessments. Some have formulated software and online tool-kits to help businesses formulate their policies.

They cover such instances as manual handling, where people have to lift and pull during their time at work. For those working on ladders or on scaffolding policies can be determined by using specialist working at height software or template statements. For those industries working with hazardous substances a COHSS risk assessment has to be carried out.

Health and safety risk requirements are not only a legal obligation, they also make sense. By ensuring the wellbeing of their staff, a business will have a more contented workforce and will avoid unnecessary disruption through injury at work.

By : Craig_Ellyard

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