Risk assessment 5 Common Pitfalls and Solutions

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Risk assessment is the most fundamental aspect of good health and safety management and if you get it right you will have a much safer and healthier place of work.

It is easy to miss things when completing risk assessments, here are the 5 most common mistakes we find when working with clients and the remedies made.

1)      Not considering the non-routine activities – It is often the unusual or infrequently performed tasks that cause the problems. Don’t just look at the everyday tasks but consider maintenance, cleaning up, repairing light fittings at height etc.

2)      Not involving the workforce – Many risk assessments are completed by management sat in an office, it’s then put in a filing cabinet and ticked off the list. That’s of no use to the people doing the job. Make risk assessment a routine inclusive activity that involves the people in the workplace who actually do the job.

3)      No safe system of work prepared – Often, just doing a risk assessment is not enough and the task may require a safe system of work. Not all tasks need a safe system of work but if you have an activity that is hazardous or complicated then listing down the stage-by-stage approach of how to implement the controls will be extremely beneficial.

4)      The risk assessment does not cover all the hazards – Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and often after incidents, when we review the documentation, we find gaps. To get around this always try to undertake risk assessments in pairs and, as mentioned before, include people who actually ‘do’ the task. This will minimise your chances of missing obvious hazards.

5)      The risk assessment is not reviewed – Sometimes assessments are used but the job or the people have changed. Although there is no legal timescale it is strongly suggested that assessments are reviewed at least annually but more frequently if the task, equipment or personnel change. Remember a review does not necessarily mean a re-write, just checking that what you have stated is still valid is a really positive action that you can take towards health and safety.

If you would like a copy of a Risk Assessment Form, as used with our clients, drop Tracey a line at tracey.martin[at]influentialmg[dot]com or call 0845 689 0075 and she’ll be happy to send you a copy.

So, risk assessment – Make it a routine part of your working week. Little and often is far easier - and remember to involve your workforce, it can really pay dividends.