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Risk assessment and key risk areas

What you must do

You must manage the health and safety risks in your workplace. To do this you need to think about what, in your business, might cause harm to people and decide whether you are doing enough to prevent that harm. This is known as a risk assessment. Once you have identified the risks, you need to decide how to control them and put the appropriate measures in place.

What you should know

A risk assessment is an important step in protecting your workers and your business, as well as complying with the law. It helps you focus on the risks that really matter in your workplace - 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, that means simple, cheap and effective measures to ensure your most valuable asset - your workforce - is protected.

The law does not expect you to eliminate all risk, but you are required to protect people as far as 'reasonably practicable'. More information on risk assessment is available at the HSE's Health and Safety made Simple site.

Example risk assessments for hospitality industries

Further information

Updated 2013-10-22