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Example risk assessment for a plastering 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

The manager of a plastering company carried out a general risk assessment that covered their typical work. The deputy manager and the employee safety representative also helped. The risk assessment was used to help manage health and safety at the firm, and when tendering for contracts to demonstrate the firm’s approach to health and safety. This meant that in the tender documents it was made clear exactly what was needed from the principal contractor to do the job safely and properly.

The firm won the plastering contract for a development of a three storey block of flats. Work was due to start on 1 May 2007. The manager checked the construction phase plan and met the principal contractor’s site manager on the site. One of the issues they considered was the sequencing and logistics of the work, alongside that of other fit-out trades, to ensure safe access and working arrangements for all. Another was the issue of fatigue, and the number of work breaks that were needed.

This extra information helped the manager to decide whether the general risk assessment covered all the hazards and risks expected in this job. If it did not, it would need to be amended to make the general risk assessment specific to the work and conditions of this job.

However, the manager decided that for this job his general risk assessment did cover all the expected risks and that therefore no additional paperwork was needed.

How was the risk assessment done?

To produce his risk assessment the manager followed the guidance in Controlling the risks in the workplace.

  1. To identify the hazards, the manager:
    • used training and experience of similar work;
    • took into account the rules of most construction sites; and
    • looked at HSE’s website for free health and safety advice and guidance for the construction industry.
  2. The manager wrote down who could be harmed by the hazards and how.
  3. He considered the risks of each hazard and decided what was needed to control those risks.
  4. He discussed the findings with the deputy manager and the safety representative. He then put the risk assessment into practice, writing down who was responsible for doing what, and by when. When each action was completed, it was ticked off and the date recorded.
  5. The manager told staff about the risk assessment, explaining that the risks identified were common to most plastering jobs and would be put into practice and the control measures identified would be put into place for all company jobs.
  6. However, the manager also said that all sites were different and that extra risk controls might be needed at some jobs. This would be considered during site visits before each job started, and staff are to be made aware of any additional risks and what needs to be done to control those risks.
  7. One of the workers did not speak English. The manager had planned for this, having previously arranged with the site manager for another worker, who was bi-lingual in the relevant language, to translate.
Updated 2014-09-01