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Convenience store

Nigel Dowdney, Norfolk

Risk assessment doesn’t have to be complicated

If you run a small food retailing business, every detail impacts on the service you can offer customers. Will your suppliers deliver on time? Are your employees up to speed on everything? And, of course, are you able to find time to handle all the red tape and admin involved?

Nigel Dowdney, 54, who runs two small convenience stores in Norfolk and Norwich with his wife, Shaz, 58, admits that time is a very precious commodity for the couple.

"My great great grandfather ran a butchers in Somerset so we've been a retailing family for 130 years. But when it came to Health and Safety rules and regulations, working out our risk assessment used to be a real problem for us. We were frightened by the idea of it - the process seemed so complicated and daunting."

"So we would wind up making it far more complicated than it needed to be - and we wasted a lot of time."

But now, thanks to the introduction of a one stop online service from the Health & Safety Executive preparing their risk assessment is now a simple and much less time consuming task.

The site offers a complete step by step guide to completing a risk assessment as well as sample, industry specific risk management plans, tailored to suit the needs of small business.

"By following the site, we now understand that risk assessment doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s a straightforward process" says Nigel.

"As long as you identify the key risk areas, have a plan to reduce those risks and train your staff how to avoid them, risk assessment is no longer a problem."

"Before we had no focus on what we should be doing. Now the whole thing has been simplified for us – which makes life easier all round."

Updated 2014-09-01