A risk assessment is an effective way to identify health and safety hazards and lower the risk of harm to staff, visitors, and customers.
Risk assessments should be at the heart of any safety management system - and should be conducted using a risk assessment framework for optimal results.
However, many businesses will make mistakes when it comes to risk assessments. We offer quality Competent Health & Safety Advice to ensure your business meets health and safety standards.
Keep reading to learn about 5 common risk assessment mistakes and the best ways to avoid them.
1- Ignoring the Legal Requirements
One of the worst things that you can do as a health and safety manager is to ignore the legal requirements.
Not complying with legal health and safety frameworks can not only put the safety of your employees at risk but can quickly become an HR nightmare.
To ensure that you don’t make this mistake, be sure to identify all requirements in the risk assessment, and ensure that you have each and every step covered.
The risk assessments you need to comply with can vary depending on the sector. For example, a construction company’s risk assessment may look different to a customer service centre.
It’s important to have a basic understanding of health and safety requirements, and it won’t do any harm having a quick read over the legislation or completing a training course to ensure that everything is done by the book.
2- Not Involving Your Employees
A risk assessment is completely pointless if you fail to communicate your findings with the workforce.
A mistake many organisations make is that they assess risks, but won’t share their findings. It’s important to involve employees in the risk assessment process, and it’s a legal requirement to share outcomes of risk assessments with them.
Our advice is to let your employees know what hazards you’ve identified, and what needs to be done by both yourself and your employees to ensure that they are safe at work.
If your business gets inspected, your employees will be asked what they know about the latest risk assessments - and if they don’t know anything then you could be in trouble.
3- Not Updating Assessments
There are plenty of legalities when it comes to risk assessments.
It's important to review them regularly, ensuring they are up to date and any new risks to the workplace have been identified and steps have been taken to minimise the risk.
Although there is no timescale as to when you need to update or review your risk assessments, be sure that you review and update them whenever anything changes in the workplace.
For example, if your business starts using new equipment, you’re working with new chemicals, or if you’re operating using a new process.
Many insurers will class a risk assessment as out of date if it is over two years old, so be sure that you’re reviewing risks assessments at the very least once every two years.
You should also review your assessments when legislation changes, or if new guidance or codes are introduced.
4- Focusing More on Safety Than Health
Risk assessments should involve health and safety - not just safety. It’s far too easy for businesses to focus primarily on potential accidents in the workplace, but it’s also important to consider work-related health issues.
Work-related health issues are likely to cause more absence than accidents, but they can be harder to assess and symptoms often appear over long periods of time.
Be sure to include health issues on your risk assessments - for example, consider health problems such as work-related stress, hearing issues, harm from dust, back injuries, eye strain, etc.
5- Only Filling Out The Form
If you employ over five people, it’s a legal requirement to record your risk assessment.
However, risk assessments involve much more than just paperwork - and too many businesses make the mistake of simply filling out the paperwork and thinking that’s all they have to do.
The main purpose of a risk assessment is to use your judgement and knowledge to identify any potential hazards and determine what you can do to minimize risks. Simply recording potential risks isn’t enough.
Always ensure that you take the time to complete a risk assessment thoroughly instead of just breezing through the paperwork.