The importance of risk assessing

Club Insure Risk Management’s Health & Safety Advisor, Steve Taylor, explains the importance of risk assessing.

Health and safety rules and regulations can often feel like an inconvenience. Risk assessing can be seen as a general annoyance that gets in the way of “actual work”. But, in reality, the rules and regulations are there to protect us and those around us. They can also improve the working environment as a whole.

Statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2019 reported that:

  • 147 workers were killed at work
  • 581,000 working people sustained an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey
  • 69,208 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 28.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury 
  • £15 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions

This begs the question… was there a suitable risk assessment in place?

risk assessment is not only an important step in ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. It is a legal requirement. You must also physically document your findings of a risk assessment for companies with five or more employees.

Risk assessments need to be conducted before employees start, carry out and complete work on current or new parts, processes or materials. You must consider the possible causes of harm and what steps to take in preventing the harm in the first place.

A good risk assessment…

  • is not complicated, but simple and concise.
  • will help to prevent accidents and ill health – these not only have the potential to ruin lives, but they could also increase costs to businesses through lost output, compensation claims and higher insurance premiums. 
  • should give the employer the information required to enable all other health and safety processes to branch off from it.
  • will provide the user with adequate information detailing all control measures required to complete the task as safely as responsibly practicable.
  • will ensure that employees work safely and go home each day to their loved ones.
  • should be carried out by a competent person (defined as: someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to carry out the required task effectively).
  • should also include the input of the employee carrying out the works as they should have the right skills and understanding. This is a very good tool to write a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and also gets employee buy-in.

The most important actions for any risk assessment are communication and understanding of all the relevant employees.

Once Risk Assessments have been completed, it is important to remember that they are live documents and should be monitored and reviewed regularly. They should also be managed effectively, ensuring that all employees are adhering to the controls in place. 

If you have any queries regarding the above, or any other health & safety or HR matters, please feel free to contact the Club Insure Risk Management team for help and guidance.