You have a legal duty to assess the risks to the health and safety of your employees (and risks to the health and safety of persons not in your employment) to which they are exposed while they are at work. In carrying out a risk assessment:
You should consult employees and health and safety representatives. It is a valuable way of involving the staff who do the work. They know the risks involved and scope for potentially dangerous shortcuts and problems. Employees are more likely to understand why procedures are put in place to control risks and follow them if they have been involved in developing health and safety practices in their workplace.
This does not mean that formal consultation is required before every task-specific assessment conducted in workplaces. It simply means that consultation should form part of the general risk assessment process. In practice, most employers conduct a general assessment to identify the key risks and control measures, and then a second brief assessment of the risks by the employees about to embark on the job.
Consulting employees and representatives on risk assessments is covered in the Approved Code of Practice for the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999.
For more information and help on carrying out risk assessment see Risk management.