Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999Regulation 3 of the Management of Health & Safety Regulations 1999 (MHSW) requires employers to carry out suitable and sufficient Risk Assessments.
So what are Risk Assessments?
A Risk Assessment requires that you assess all the risks in your workplace. That is, what could cause harm to yourself, your employees and members of the public, and the likelihood of an incident occurring. You then need to decide what precautions you must take to prevent this happening, or how to reduce the risks to an acceptable level.
Hazard and Risk
Which is which?
means anything that can cause harm (e.g. falling from a ladders, falling down a shaft, tripping over a rope, failure of an item of equipment).
Is the chance, high, medium or low, that somebody will be harmed by the hazard. What does suitable and sufficient mean? - The detail required in the risk assessment should be proportionate to the severity of the hazard or risk. In deciding the amount of effort you put into assessing risks, you have to estimate whether the hazards are significant, and whether the precautions you have taken have reduced the risk to an acceptable level.
The five step process:
STEP 1: Look for the hazards.
STEP 2: Decide who might be harmed and how.
STEP 3: Evaluate the risks 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 regularly revise it if necessary.
Hazard & risk
Hazard & risk are often confused.
HAZARD: is the potential to do harm
The hazards include...
Access to sites, projections, manual handling, working at height, uneven/slippery surfaces, ladders, noise, weather e.g. snow, ice, wind, rain, fog, sun, extreme temperatures. Biological hazards such as bird droppings, animal faeces and bacteria in air conditioning units. Substances such as dust in vents, soot and grease in flues & chimneys, asbestos. EF Radiation from antennae, especially micro wave links. Your complacency, lack of training, personal attitude, health and inappropriate clothes
RISK: is the likelihood of that potential being realised, combined with the severity of the consequences.
The risks include...
Collision injury, strains, workplace slips, trips, falls, falling objects, hearing loss, sunburn, blown off a roof, lightning, hatches/doors blown shut. Biological such as Psittacosis, tetanus, hepatitis, Weils disease, Legionnaires disease, HIV Substances causing asphyxiation, cancer, respiratory & skin disorders
Risks can be controlled but hazards cannot be controlled
Levels of risk
High: The risk is intolerable and urgent action is required
Medium: The risk in this area should be reduced as low as reasonably practical.
Low: Broadly acceptable, existing controls are adequate.
* Ensure safe access & egress
* Design & build installations to high standards
* Provide adequate information and training
* Implement safe systems of work
* Maintain high standard of working environment
* Empower all employees
* Protect the public
There is no standard technique for carrying out a risk assessment. However, any risk assessment should satisfy three basic requirements. It should be structured, systematic and thorough. There are a number of techniques that can be used for hazards identification and analysis, depending on the degree of detail for the assessment and degree of human involvement in the process/activity.
There are two general approaches to risk assessment. These are:
* Workplace-based approach in which hazards presented in different parts of the structure or workplace are identified and then the question is asked as to who may be exposed to each hazard and when.
* The task-based approach, in which an individual or group of individuals are followed in their work activities and hazards associated with each step of their task are identified. This approach is based on task analysis.
The task-based approach to risk assessment is more appropriate to climbing/rescue activities.
Assessment of risk, These should be considered (but not limited to) when drawing up a risk assessment
Can the risk be avoided?
What are the performance characteristics required for effective PPE?
Compare proposed PPE with the requirements in the risk assessment
Review the risk assessment regularly
Write a 'Work method statement' - how you will do the work
Write a 'Safety method statement' - what things you need to consider regarding safety, for example rescue of a casualty.