Establish who might be harmed and how in risk assessment - How to carry out a risk assessment - Healthy Working Lives

How to carry out a risk assessment

What's involved and a form to complete your own with

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A risk assessment is a systematic method of looking at work activities, considering what could go wrong, and deciding on suitable control measures. These control measures are designed to eliminate, reduce or minimize the risks of loss, damage or injury in the workplace.

It is a legal requirement for all organisations to carry out a risk assessment. If you have five or more employees you must also keep a written record of it.

Use the links below to find information on the steps you should take when performing a risk assessment in your organisation. 

  1. Identify hazards in risk assessment
  2. Establish who might be harmed and how in risk assessment
  3. Evaluate and decide on precautions in risk assessment
  4. Record and share key findings of risk assessment
  5. Review risk assessment regularly

3. Evaluate and decide on precautions in risk assessment

​When looking at each hazard you should assess

  • the likelihood of it occurring
  • how severe its consequences might be.

This will allow you to prioritise your actions and ensure that your resources are being used where they are most needed.

When considering precautions you should do so in the following order, without jumping to the easiest solution. Personal protective equipment should be your last choice and priority should be given to measures that will protect more than just one person.

  1. Elimination - for example, redesign the job to eliminate the need of manual handling or working at height.

  2. Substitution - such as changing a hazardous substances for a less hazardous one.

  3. Engineering controls – you could use guarding on equipment or machinery to separate the employee from the hazard.

  4. Administrative controls – such as rotating your employees around tasks to reduce the time they work in that environment.

  5. Personal protective equipment - if all the above methods are ineffective then you should consider the use of personal protective equipment.

You should consult with your employees to see if they can suggest any control measures you may not have considered. It is also a good idea to check with them that any you are suggesting will not introduce new hazards.

​Carry out a risk assessment

​Once you are familiar will all the steps explained in this guide, you can carry out a risk assessment using our form.

​Use our risk assessment form​