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Risk Assessments in the Workplace

There is a legal obligation for employers to manage health and safety in the workplace.  This involves identifying the hazards and risks and ensuring there are appropriate control  measures in place to eliminate or reduce the risk of harm.

It is important before starting a risk assessment to know the difference between a ‘hazard’ and a ‘risk’.

Hazard is anything with the potential to cause harm e.g. wet floor, chemicals, electricity etc.  Hazards can be categorised as physical, psychological, biological and chemical.

Risk is the chance of a hazard leading to harm, the impact (in terms of injury, cost, business implications) if harm were to occur.  How frequently a person is exposed to a hazard, how they are exposed and the severity of the effects all influence risk.

Harm – is the adverse effect of exposure to a hazard.  This includes short term illnesses or physical injury, long-term effects on health and psychological effects such as stress, depression and anxiety.

Every day you will carry out risk assessment process in your head.  Before you cross the road, when you pick up the freshly boiled kettle to make your morning cup of tea through to climbing the stairs and walking through a car park.  You are risk assessing the activity to ensure you do not come to any harm.

Risk Assessments do not need to be overcomplicated.  There are 5 key steps to follow when carrying out a risk assessment and they are:

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions (control measures)
  4. Record your findings and Implement them
  5. Review the risk assessment and update as required


The idea behind the workplace risk assessment is to check that the activity or task can be carried out safely.  If it cannot be carried out safely you must review step 3 and identify appropriate control measures required.

Every employer  and self-employed person needs to assess the health and safety risks arising from their work. Where a company has 5 or more employees, the risk assessment findings must be documented.  There is a strong case for documenting risk assessment findings where there are less than 5 employees as it will make everything clear, focused and can be easily updated should things change (process, new equipment etc.)

There are number of reasons to complete a workplace risk assessment and they include:

  • Compliance with legislation
  • Identify hazards
  • Reduce risks
  • Provide safe working environment
  • Prevent accidents


If you are confident and you understand the risk in your workplace,  you can conduct your own workplace risk assessment following the 5-step process.  If you are in any doubt about any aspect of the risk assessment process don’t hesitate to contact CoreGenic for a free, no obligation consultation.


A Step by Step guide infographic for Risk Assessment in the Work place by HSE CoreGenic

A Step by Step guide for Risk Assessment in the Work place.


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