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Carrying out a risk assessment

A risk assessment looks at what can cause harm to people. It identifies if measures are adequate, or additional measures are required, to reduce injury and ill health.

Some risk assessments may be simple, for example, water spilled on the floor creating a slip hazard. Other risk assessments will be more complex, for example, the risks associated with handling activities.

Types of risk assessment

Generic risk assessment

This is an assessment of common hazards.

Examples of these hazards include:

  • slips
  • trips
  • falls
  • fire
  • noise
  • vibration
  • manual handling activities

General risk assessment form (Word, 41KB, 1 page)

Specific risk assessment

This is an assessment of high-risk work activities.

Examples of these activities include:

Dynamic risk assessment

A dynamic risk assessment assesses risk for employees in changing circumstances.

Examples include employees who:

  • work alone
  • work in environments with potential for aggression and violence
  • deal with manual handling activities

A dynamic risk assessment is carried out informally. Issues identified must be addressed and reported to the manager.

Manager responsibilities

As a manager, you are responsible for:

  • ensuring that a hazard identification and risk assessment process is completed
  • ensuring risk assessments are reviewed regularly, at least annually and in the event of any significant change
  • ensuring that risks that cannot be controlled locally are incorporated onto the relevant risk register and prioritized for action or notified to the next level. In the interim, the risk must be continued to be managed and monitored so far as is reasonably practicable.

Contact the Health and Safety helpdesk for advice

Employee responsibilities

Employees have a responsibility for their own safety, health and welfare.

This includes reporting to their manager as soon as possible any:

  • work that may endanger the health and safety of themselves or others
  • defects in the workplace, systems of work or substances
  • breach of health and safety legislation

Contact the Health and Safety helpdesk for advice

Steps in the risk assessment process

  1. Identify the hazard. This includes physical, chemical, biological and psychosocial hazards
  2. Identify the risk associated with the hazard, including who might be harmed. This applies to visitors, contractors, staff, students and the public.
  3. Assess the risk, taking account of existing control measures and their effectiveness. Use the HSE risk assessment tool.
  4. Identify if any extra control measures are required.

Record the risk assessment

The results of the risk assessment must be recorded.

Monitor and review

Control measures must be evaluated regularly. This should be done through a monitoring and review system.

Risk assessments must be kept up to date and must be reviewed when there is:

  • a significant workplace change - to the premises, plant, work practices or procedures
  • evidence that the risk assessment is no longer valid

Amend the risk assessment as necessary following the review.

It is best practice and HSE policy to review risk assessments at least annually.

Related topics

Coronavirus staff support

Work Safely - arrangements for COVID

Contact

Contact the Health and Safety helpdesk

Related documents

General risk assessment form

Guidance on completion of general risk assessment

HSE Integrated Risk Management Policy - part 3 - managing and monitoring risk registers

Guideline on completing occupational safety and health risk assessment

Page last reviewed: 20/11/2020
Next review due: 20/11/2023