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Risk Assessments - What is a Risk Assessment?

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

What is risk assessment?

A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm.  The law does not expect you to eliminate all risk, but you are required to protect people as far as ‘reasonably practicable’.

The people you are required to protect are your employees and anyone likely to be affected by your business.  This would include your guests and their visitors and any tradesmen or other people that you might reasonably expect to visit your premises, including, for example, sub-contractor or their staff, such as cleaners or gardeners or decorators.  The word “employees” covers full time and part time employees, self employed workers, sub-contactors, casual workers and volunteers.  It even covers work experience.

A risk assessment helps you focus on the risks that really matter in running your business – the ones with the potential to cause real harm. In many instances, straightforward measures can readily control risks, for example ensuring spillages are cleaned up promptly so people do not slip or cupboard drawers are kept closed to ensure people do not trip. For most businesses that means simple, cheap and effective measures to ensure your most valuable asset – your workforce and your guests – are protected.

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Additional Reading:

What is a Risk Assessment?
How to Conduct a Risk Assessment?
Rating a Risk?