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Assess risk
safetyzone - risk assessment

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Do not ever be fooled into believing that risk assessments are complicated. They are not! They may be time consuming, but there is nothing complicated about them. Trust me! All that is needed is:

Ok, lets put some meat on the bones.

The Management Regulations places an obligation on employers to undertake risk assessments of their working activities.

The biggest problems with risk assessments are that:


As you will see later, the Management Regulation leave it to employers to identify the significant risks within their workplace. HOWEVER, there are some specific areas which the regulations make clear should be assessed, if applicable.

Regulations Three

Regulation 3 that states that the employer must make sufficient and suitable assessment of all the risks associated with the working activity. Lets examine this practically.

1: First, if you have carried out assessments of risks under other pieces of legislation there is no need to reassess that risk.

2: Decide who is going to carry out the assessments. The assessor should be a competent person i.e. they should have appropriate training, knowledge, experience of the principles of risk assessment and the activities to be assessed. The assessment can be carried out by one individual or a group of individuals (not too large a group if you want to see more results and less debating.)


A hazard is something with a potential to cause harm as opposed to a risk which is the likelihood of harm occurring.

Look to see what is in place to reduce the risk of  harm occurring. Do not look at what safety policies and safety manuals say should be happening.  Look to see what is actually happening to reduce risk.

The categorising of risk is vital. Later you will want to spend your time, money and effort in dealing with those areas that pose the greatest risk. The best way is to identify the hazard and risk, as indicated above, and then assign some value to the risk so you can compare it to other risks.

There are a number of ways to categorise risks but three have been indicated below.


Simply look at the hazards and the risks as indicated above and then simply classify each risk as either high, medium or low.

The criticism of this method is that it relies too much on the subjectivity of the assessor. However, it could be argued that whatever method is chosen there will be a degree of subjectivity. This method is as good as any.


Use your accident and incident statistics to categorise the risks. These are useful also for identifying uncontrolled risks

Use of this system relies heavily on your reporting systems. Unless you are sure that your systems are effective then use the accident information as an indicator only.


Risk rating formulas. This system relies on formula to calculate risk. There are many variations on a theme but the one below is typical:

Likelihood           Severity                 Risk Level

Unlikely = 1        Minor Injury = 1        1-2 = Low
Likely = 2           Major Injury = 2        3-4 = Medium
Very Likely = 3    Fatality = 3              6-9 = High

Now multiply the likelihood by the severity to determine the risk rating

Identifying the control measures that are reasonably practicable

Not all control measures will be capable of being implemented immediately. Draw up a realistic schedule for the implementation of control measures.

Final points to remember

1: If you are carrying out assessments as part of a group:

2: If someone else has carried out an assessment that you can use then don't be afraid to use it. Reinventing the wheel can be so boringly tedious. Just ensure the assessment is adapted to meet your needs and is relevant.

3: Set yourself some realistic targets for completing risk assessments. Targets provide A GOAL and that is necessary with risk assessments

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