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Example risk assessment for office work in a manufacturing company

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

Smith’s Goods is a company that employs 15 people and provides a range of manufactured goods to a variety of markets.

They have assessed the risks in their factory, but not in the general office. The office contains typical office furniture and equipment, and has central heating. Three people do administrative and accounting work there. They also clean the adjacent staff kitchen, where drinks can be prepared and food heated, and the nearby toilet and washing facilities.

The offices were built before 2000. The office, kitchen and toilet and washing facilities have been surveyed for the presence of asbestos. Asbestos containing materials (ACMs) were found but, as the ACMs are in good condition and in places were they were not likely to be damaged, worked on or disturbed, it was decided to leave them in place.

The managing director (MD) did the risk assessment.

How was the risk assessment done?

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

  1. To identify the hazards, the MD:
    • looked at HSE’s office health and safety web pages, including the Officewise leaflet [withdrawn], and at the cleaning web pages to learn where hazards can occur;
    • walked around the office noting things that might pose a risk, taking into consideration what was learnt from HSE’s guidance;
    • talked to staff who worked in the office, and the company safety representative, to learn from their knowledge and experience of areas and activities, and to listen to their concerns and opinions about health and safety issues in the workplace; and
    • looked at the accident book, to understand what has previously resulted in incidents.
  2. The MD then wrote down who could be harmed by the hazards and how.
  3. The MD noted what controls, if any, were in place to manage these hazards. He compared these controls to the good practice guidance provided in HSE’s office health and safety web pages. Where existing controls were not considered good enough, he wrote down what else needed to be done to control the risk.
  4. Putting the risk assessment into practice, the MD decided and recorded who was responsible for implementing the further actions and when they should be done. When each action was completed, the MD ticked it off and recorded the date. The risk assessment was pinned up in the kitchen for all staff to see.
  5. The MD discussed the findings with the staff, and decided to review and update the risk assessment every year, or straightaway if any major changes in the workplace happened.
Updated 2014-09-01