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Example risk assessment for a drycleaners

Important reminder

This example risk assessment shows the kind of approach a small business might take. It can be used 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

Five people work at the drycleaning shop: the manager and deputy manager who work full time and three part-time staff.

The shop is a two-storey building with a counter at the front, where staff deal with customers, and drycleaning equipment in the back and upstairs. The shop was built in the 1990s. The landlord has surveyed the building for asbestos and none was found.

How was the risk assessment done?

The manager followed the guidance in Controlling the risks in the workplace.

  1. To identify the hazards, the manager:
    • looked at HSE’s drycleaning web pages for free guidance, including the HSE leaflet Drycleaners: Are you in control?. The manager also looked at guidance on HSE's COSHH essentials site;
    • walked around the shop, noting what might pose a risk, taking HSE’s guidance into consideration;
    • talked to staff to learn from their knowledge and experience, and to listen to their concerns and opinions about health and safety; and
    • looked at the accident book, to learn about previous problems.
  2. The manager then wrote down who could be harmed by the hazards and how.
  3. For each hazard, the manager wrote down what risk controls there were to manage these hazards. These controls were then compared to HSE guidance. Where existing controls were not considered good enough, the manager wrote down what else needed to be done.
  4. The manager discussed the findings with staff and displayed the risk assessment in the mess room for everyone to see. It was also made a part of the induction process for new staff. The actions identified as necessary were implemented. As each action was completed, the manager ticked it off.
  5. The manager decided to review and update the risk assessment every year or straightaway if there were major changes in the workplace.
Updated 2015-08-10