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What is a Risk Assessment?

By VOLOCO LLP, Feb 28 2019 07:18AM

A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, could cause harm to people, to enable precautions to be taken to prevent injury and ill-health. A risk assessment is an important step in protecting workers, as well as complying with the law. It helps focus on the risks that really matter in the workplace (the ones with the potential to cause real harm). Workers and others have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures.

Accidents and ill health can ruin lives and affect your business too if output is lost, machinery is damaged, insurance costs increase, or you have to go to court. You are legally required to assess the risks in your workplace so that you put in place a plan to control the risks.

Risk assessment is the process of assessing the risks to workers’ safety and health from workplace hazards. It is an examination of all aspects of work that considers:

• What could cause injury or harm.

• Whether the hazards could be eliminated and if not.

• What control measures are, or should be, in place to control the risks.


Hazard: anything that has the potential to cause harm (ill health, injury or damage).

Risk: the likelihood of an event occurring from a hazard.

Likelihood: the chance that an accident will occur (certain, likely, possible, unlikely or rare).

Severity: the consequences of an incident that arises.

Danger: a person is in danger when they are exposed to risk.

Accident: an event that results in damage, injury or ill health.

Near miss: an event that, while not causing harm, has the potential to cause injury or ill health.

Competence: having practical and theoretical knowledge, training and actual experience of the work involved.


When carrying out your risk assessment try not to overcomplicate the process. In many organisations, the risks are well known and the necessary control measures are easy to apply. If you are aware of the risks associated in your workplace, check that you have taken reasonable precautions to avoid injury.

There are five steps to completing a risk assessment: -

Step 1 – Identify the hazards that arise out of the work activity being assessed.

Step 2 – Assess the risks to the health and safety of any person(s) who is likely to be affected by the hazards.

Step 3 – Identify the individuals or groups of people who are at risk.

Step 4 – Identify the hazards thereby removing the risk of injury.

Step 5 – Identify and implement appropriate measures to control the remaining risks.

It is important to effectively monitor and review the control measures established for the work activity and amend them if they are no longer valid or become ineffective. As with the Method Statement all employees need to be fully briefed on the assessment carried out and a briefing register needs to be included which should be signed by all carrying out the work to confirm that the document has been read and fully understood. If your business would support with Risk Assessments, VOLOCO can help.

We are soon to be launching an innovative Contractor Support service aimed at providing advice and support to individuals and companies who may be experiencing challenges or with growth and improvement ambitions.


VOLOCO LLP are developing an online portal providing access to a range of procedures, guidance and forms, learning tools, access to remote online and telephone support and face-to-face consultant time with one of our team.


If this is something that you feel would benefit you or your business and want to find out more, please get in touch by email or telephone.

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