Example risk assessment for food preparation and service
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.
This example risk assessment applies to food
preparation and food service areas (restaurants,
cafés, sandwich bars, pubs, takeaways or hotel
Setting the scene
The catering manager carried out the risk assessment
in this café. The business employs five permanent staff
working a variety of shifts to prepare, cook and serve
food. A young person under 16 helps on a Saturday
to serve food and load and unload the dishwasher. An
employment permit for the young person has been
obtained from the local authority. One staff member does
not speak English well. The business, which is located
on the high street, is open from 7.00 am to 5.30 pm.
How was the risk assessment done?
The manager followed the guidance in Controlling the risks in the workplace.
- To identify the hazards, the manager:
- looked at the guidance on HSE’s web pages for catering
and hospitality and the employment of young people;
- walked around the kitchen, the stockroom and all other
areas, noting things that might pose a risk and taking HSE’s
guidance into consideration;
- talked to staff to learn from their knowledge and
experience, and to listen to their concerns and opinions. He paid particular attention to the requirements for ensuring the young person's safety;
- looked at the accident book, to understand what particular risks previously resulted in
- The manager wrote down who could be harmed and
- The manager then wrote down what controls, if any,
were in place to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of
somebody being hurt. He compared these controls to
the good practice in HSE’s guidance. Where he did not
consider the existing controls to be good enough, he
wrote down what else needed to be done.
- The manager put in place the actions the risk
assessment identified as necessary. He discussed the
findings with staff, pinned it up in a prominent place so
that all staff could see it and made it part of the induction
process for new staff. He told the young person's guardians about the findings of the risk assessment
and how risk to that young person will be controlled.
And he made sure that the worker, who had difficulty
understanding English, had the safety arrangements
explained to her in a language she understood.
- The manager decided to review the risk assessment
every year, or straightaway if major changes in the
workplace happened. To get a better understanding
of the risks, the manager also asked staff to report any
accident, however minor.