The management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999
requires all employees and self-employed persons to assess the risk
to employees and anyone else who may be affected by their
The Health & Safety Executive website provides advice,
guidance and worked examples of how to
undertake risk assessments.
Risk Assessment - an overview for
As an employer, you must assess and manage
health and safety risks - whether you are a big business, a small
business or just a one-person operation. Accidents and ill
health can ruin lives and damage your business. You are not
expected to eliminate all risk, but you are required to protect
people as far as 'reasonably practicable'.
A risk assessment is an important tool in
protecting your workers and your business. It helps you focus
on those risks that have the potential to cause harm. Most of
these can be readily controlled by straightforward measures.
Once you have completed the assessment it is
important to put your results into practice.
If you need to make a number of
improvements, you should produce an action plan to deal with the
most important first. You should review your assessment on an
ongoing basis to make sure that it remains up to date and
This guide details the risk assessment you're
required to carry out under health and safety law.
Your legal obligations
If you run a business, however big or small,
you must carry out a careful examination of what in your work could
cause harm to people.
You must decide what in your work could cause
- your employees, should you have any
- members of the public
This is so that you can weigh up whether you
have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent
There are five steps to any risk
Don't overcomplicate the process - risk
assessments should be 'suitable and sufficient'. If your
risks are well known and the necessary control measures are easy to
apply, your risk assessment should also be simple.
If your business is small and you are
confident that you understand what's involved, you can do the
assessment yourself - you don't have to be a health and safety
If you work in a larger business you
could ask a health and safety expert to help you.
If you are not confident, get help from
someone who is competent. In all cases, you should make sure
that you involve your staff or their representatives in the process
- they may have useful information about how the work is done,
which will make your assessment of the risk more thorough and
Last Updated - 02/08/2011