Risk Assessment In The Workplace Part 1

Risk Assessment in​ the​ Workplace. Part 1.
What is​ risk assessment?
A risk assessment is​ simply a​ careful examination of​ your workplace,​ to​ identify what could cause harm to​ people,​ so that you can decide as​ to​ whether you have taken enough precautions or​ should do more to​ prevent harm from being caused.
Work accidents and work related ill health,​ can ruin lives,​ and seriously affect your business also,​ if​ output is​ lost,​ machinery is​ damaged,​ insurance costs increase,​ or​ you have to​ go to​ court.
You are legally required to​ assess the​ risks in​ your workplace.
The important thing you need to​ decide is​ whether a​ hazard is​ significant,​ and whether you have taken satisfactory precautions to​ minimize the​ risk.
If you are a​ small firm owner,​ and you are confident you understand what is​ involved,​ you can carry out a​ risk assessment yourself. You do not have to​ be a​ Health and Safety expert. if​ you are a​ larger firm,​ then you may want to​ assign a​ responsible employee,​ safety representative or​ safety officer to​ carry out the​ task. You can also obtain advice from outside companies,​ who have specialised in​ this type of​ work.
What is​ Hazard and Risk?
A hazard means anything that can cause harm. to​ give you a​ basic idea,​ think of​ chemicals,​ electricity,​ working at​ heights etc etc.
A risk is​ the​ chance,​ high or​ low,​ that somebody will be harmed by the​ hazard.
There are five steps in​ a​ risk assessment
Step 1. Look for the​ hazards.
Step 2. Decide who might be harmed and how.
Step 3. Evaluate the​ risk and decide whether the​ existing precautions are adequate or​ whether more should be done.
Step 4. Record your findings.
Step 5. Review your assessment and revise it​ if​ required.
Do not overcomplicate matters. in​ the​ majority of​ firms in​ the​ commercial,​ service and light industrial sectors,​ the​ hazards are few,​ and those that do exist are fairly obvious. Checking them is​ mainly a​ matter of​ common sense,​ but also a​ required and necessary action.
You probably know already,​ whether you have machinery that could cause harm,​ or​ if​ there is​ an awkward entrance or​ stairway where someone could be hurt. if​ so,​ check that you have taken all reasonable precautions you can to​ avoid accidents and prevent injury.
Lets take a​ closer look at​ Steps 1 and 2.
Step 1. Look for the​ hazards.
If you are doing the​ assessment yourself,​ walk around your workplace and look at​ what could reasonably be expected to​ cause harm. Ignore the​ trivial for now and concentrate on​ significant hazards which could result in​ serious harm.
Ask your employees what they think. They are the​ ones who are working with the​ various components on​ a​ daily basis,​ and will therefore know where the​ problems are. They may have noticed things which are not immediately obvious. Manufacturers instructions or​ data sheets can also help you spot hazards and put risks in​ their proper perspective.
Step 2. Decide who might be harmed and how.
For each identified hazard you should then decide who might be harmed and how. And of​ course you will then be able to​ decide on​ a​ course or​ action that will prevent the​ hazard from causing risk.
Do not forget about young workers,​ trainees,​ expectant mothers etc who may be at​ particular risk.
Do not forget cleaners,​ visitors,​ contractors,​ maintenance workers etc who may not be in​ the​ workplace all the​ time.
Do not forget members of​ the​ public,​ or​ people you share the​ workplace with,​ if​ there is​ any chance they could be injured by your activity.

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