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Example risk assessment for contract bricklayers

Important reminder

This example risk assessment shows the kind of approach a small business might take. Use it as a guide to think through some of the hazards in your business and the steps you need to take to control the risks. Please note that it is not a generic risk assessment that you can just put your company name on and adopt wholesale without any thought. This would not satisfy the law - and would not be effective in protecting people.

Every business is different - you need to think through the hazards and controls required in your business for yourself.

Setting the scene

The manager of a successful bricklaying contractor, with help from worker representatives, carried out a general risk assessment that covered their typical work. This assessment was used when tendering for contracts to demonstrate the firm’s approach to health and safety. In the tender documents the manager was clear about what was needed from the principal contractor to do the job safely and properly.

The firm won a bricklaying contract for a development of three-storey flats. Work was due to start on 1 May 2006. The manager checked the construction phase plan and met the principal contractor’s site manager on the site. This extra information was used to amend the general assessment so that it was specific to the work and conditions.

How was the risk assessment done?

The manager followed the guidance in Five steps to risk assessment.

  1. To identify the hazards, the manager:
    • read HSE’s construction web pages and HSE's publication Health and safety in construction;
    • checked the manufacturers’ instructions for tools/machinery and the data sheet for mortar;
    • thought about the work seen on sites; and
    • talked to employees to help identify the significant hazards and particular work practices.
  2. The manager then wrote down who could be harmed by the hazards and how.
  3. For each hazard identified, the manager recorded what controls, if any, were in place to manage these hazards. He then compared these controls to the good practice guidance laid out in the manufacturers’ instructions or the data sheets, Health and safety in construction, the Health and safety toolbox site and the HSE Construction web pages. Where existing controls did not meet good practice the manager wrote down what further actions were needed to manage the risk.
  4. Putting the findings of the risk assessment into practice, the manager decided and recorded who was responsible for implementing the further actions and when they should be done. When each action was completed it was ticked off and the date was recorded.
  5. The manager decided that for each new site he would need to make sure the assessment was suitable and amend it depending on the particular work and conditions. A review and update of the general risk assessment would be made each year and staff would learn from the work on different sites.

How was the site-specific risk assessment done?

To turn the general risk assessment into a site-specific assessment the manager checked the following had been identified:

The manager did this by:

The manager made the supervisor responsible for briefing the bricklayers about the site rules on their first day.

Updated 2013-11-22