This fact sheet is intended to provide safety officers with a basic understanding of fire safety and fire risk assessment in accordance with applicable law. During the pandemic, employers should make every reasonable effort to allow employees to work from home for the time being. If this is not possible, employers should conduct a risk assessment to make them „COVID-proof“ before they can return to their normal workplace. Employers must identify all persons to whom they owe a duty of care, whether employees or service users, who are considered to be at most or moderately vulnerable to COVID-19. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of workplace risk assessment. Risk assessment is an essential management tool to ensure the health and safety of workers (and others). However, what many people may not know is that this is actually a legal requirement for employers and some self-employed workers. Whether you`re wondering how to conduct a risk assessment or you`re not sure if it`s relevant in your industry, read on to learn everything you need to know. As mentioned above, conducting appropriate and sufficient risk assessments is the main steering tool for effective risk management. It is required by law for every employer and must be documented wherever five or more people are employed. After identifying the hazards and people likely to be affected, it is important to assess the severity of the risk (if it occurs) and put in place appropriate and effective controls to reduce this level of risk as much as possible.
This means doing everything possible to ensure health and safety, taking into account all relevant factors, including: Employers should regularly review the assessment and, where appropriate, reassess existing controls. The level of detail of a risk assessment should be commensurate with the risk and the nature of the work. Insignificant risks can generally be ignored, as well as risks arising from routine activities associated with life in general, unless the work activity significantly amplifies or modifies these risks. An appropriate and sufficient risk assessment must be carried out prior to the performance of a particular activity or task in order to eliminate, reduce or adequately control all risks associated with the health, safety and well-being of those involved (or affected) by the task or activity concerned. The NRA has contributed to strengthening the development of risk assessment at the local level. By law, every employer must carry out risk assessments for the work of its employees. If the enterprise or organisation has more than five employees, the results should include information on particularly vulnerable groups of workers, such as older workers, young people, pregnant women or workers with disabilities. More and more employers have put in place specific processes to assess risks for Black workers. For example, the Board of Directors of Aneurin Bevan Hospital has created forms and guidelines for risk assessment. These can be found in the Resources section below. Risk assessments should be easy to complete and follow a process that includes: A company may also choose to create a Risk Assessment Method Statement (RAMS), depending on the type of transactions performed. This process includes details about the hazard and a step-by-step procedure on how to perform the work and adequately control the identified risks.
This process is often used in the construction industry. A risk assessment guide for UNISON safety officers, detailing how to work with employers to ensure workplace risk assessments are carried out correctly. Revised June 2020. Once a risk assessment is completed, it should be reviewed regularly (in proportion to the level of risk) and, in any case, if the current assessment is no longer valid and/or if, at any time, significant changes have been made to the specific activity or task. It makes sense to ensure that the risk assessment is proportionate to the activity or task being performed, which can often be a simple process for general tasks. Tell your safety guard or employer if you notice a hazard in your workplace. Your employer should take steps to eliminate or reduce the risk and document its findings and any actions taken. The most comprehensive data to date on inequalities in risk and outcomes of COVID-19 at the population level has now been published by Public Health England. The communication process is most effective when the people concerned are involved in the risk assessment process at each stage. The person performing an activity or task is often in the best position to provide details about the hazards and risks involved and should be fully involved in conducting the risk assessment.
A recent article in the journal BSC Safety Management describes an incident in which a company was „fined £274,000 after two workers were trapped in moving machinery in two separate incidents“ (see 2 sisters sentenced after being fined a finger and thumb in a poultry factory). In the report, Inspector Saffron Turnell of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) noted that „companies need to know that the HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who do not meet the required standards“. It is cases like this that should serve as a warning to all companies and highlight the importance of risk assessments. The types of risk assessment required in the workplace should be proportionate and relevant to the operational activities carried out. In many industries, specific legal requirements apply. For example, in environments where hazardous substances are used, a hazardous substances control (COSHH) should be carried out (for more information, see What is COSHH?). Build a common government-wide vision of the range of emergencies that could have a significant impact on all or significant parts of the UK, thereby strengthening responsibility for risk There is no set time you need to keep the risk assessment, but it is recommended that you keep it for as long as it is deemed relevant to a particular task or activity. Raise awareness of risks among citizens, businesses and local communities by publishing NRA results in the National Risk Register. UNISON`s volunteer security guards play a very important role in inspecting premises and work with employers to ensure that the workplace is as risk-free as possible.
Learn more about becoming a security representative. Step 5. Review your assessment and reassess it if necessary This website provides tips and tools to help companies understand what they need to do to assess and control workplace hazards and comply with health and safety laws. Although the website was written for small businesses, it is relevant to all businesses. Assessing the severity of a risk requires an assessment of the likelihood of an event and the significant consequences it may cause. Factors influencing this assessment include the duration and frequency of exposure, the number of people affected, the competence of those exposed, the type and condition of equipment, and the availability of first aid and/or emergency assistance. Employers with five or more employees are required to document the most significant results of the risk assessment. This register should include details of all hazards identified in the risk assessment and the measures taken to reduce or eliminate the risk. We have developed a risk assessment model for Black workers and other vulnerable workers. Risk assessment is a simple and structured method to ensure that risks to the health, safety and well-being of employees (and others) are eliminated, reduced or appropriately controlled. Your risk assessment should only include what you can reasonably know – you are not expected to foresee unpredictable risks.
As a safety officer, it is important to remember that risk assessments need to be systematic and thorough, looking at what is happening in the actual workplace, not what employers think should happen. Safety representatives play an important role in reviewing employer assessments and deciding whether they are appropriate and sufficient. A risk assessment must be constantly reviewed in order to: When concluding a risk assessment, it is important to clearly define certain key words: It is important to also consider day-to-day events, emergency risks abroad, and longer-term or broader global risks. This means that employers must consider the likelihood that a hazard could cause harm. This determines whether or not your employer needs to reduce the risk. Even after all precautions have been taken, there is usually some risk that remains. For each remaining risk, employers must decide whether the risk remains high, medium or low. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises employers to follow five steps when conducting a workplace risk assessment: Employers are required to assess the risks to the health and safety of their employees.
Your employer must systematically check for any physical, psychological, chemical and biological risks. The law states that a risk assessment must be „appropriate and sufficient“, i.e. it must show that: Step 3.
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