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Example risk assessment for maintenance work in a factory

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

ABC Engineering manufacture parts for the motor industry. The company employs 40 people on a site built in the 1970s.

The managing director reviewed the company’s health and safety arrangements and found that although risk assessments for the production, storage and distribution of products were done and the necessary risk control measures had been put in place, no risk assessment had been done and recorded for maintenance work in the factory. The MD told the maintenance manager (the ‘fitter’) to do this risk assessment and to put its findings into practice.

Where possible, maintenance work at the factory is done in-house by the fitter. His main job is to support production by, for example, maintaining plant, machinery and tools and undertaking minor jobs on the building fabric. The company also uses outside contractors, for example for most building repairs, detailed repairs to machinery, and most electrical work and work on the LEV system. The fitter’s job includes the selection of contractors and, with the works manager, the oversight of their work.

The fitter works out of a small workshop, which has some basic engineering machinery, a welding kit and secure storage for solvents and flammables. His work, however, takes him to all parts of the factory.

How was the risk assessment done?

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

  1. To identify the hazards, the fitter:
    • looked at HSE’s web pages for free health and safety advice for the engineering industry and downloaded the free publication Using contractors: A brief guide INDG368;
    • walked around all the areas where he and contractors may go, noting things that might pose a risk, and taking into account both HSE’s guidance and those jobs that he or contractors may be required to do;
    • talked through the issues with the safety representative, with supervisors and other members of staff to learn from their detailed knowledge of particular jobs and areas; and
    • looked at the accident book to get information on past problems.
  2. The fitter then wrote down who could be harmed by the hazards and how.
  3. For each hazard, the fitter wrote down what was already being done to manage these, taking HSE’s guidance into account. Where he did not consider existing controls good enough, he wrote down what else needed to be done to control the risk.
  4. The fitter discussed the findings with the safety representative, with supervisors and with the managing director. He gave copies of the risk assessment to them, and pinned up a copy on the notice board. Then he put the findings of the risk assessment into practice. When each action was completed he ticked if off and recorded the date.
  5. The fitter decided to review and update the assessment at least once a year, or at any time when major changes to the workplace occurred, or when any out-of-the-ordinary jobs needed to be done.
Updated 2014-09-01