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Example risk assessment for a woodworking 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 owner/manager did the risk assessment at this company, which manufactures furniture and uses a variety of woods and a range of machinery. Six people are employed and two of them work part-time.

The business is located on a small industrial estate, in spacious premises built in 2002 which do not have asbestos containing materials. There is sufficient space in the yard for loading and unloading vehicles.

The company has toilet and washing facilities and a mess room where staff can take their breaks, prepare drinks and heat food. A first-aid kit is kept there and is regularly checked to make sure all necessary items are maintained.

How was the risk assessment done?

The manager followed the guidance in Five steps to risk assessment.

  1. To identify the hazards, the manager:
    • looked at HSE’s web pages for woodworking and for small businesses for free advice and to learn where hazards can occur;
    • walked around the premises, inside and out, noting what might pose a risk, taking into consideration what was learnt from HSE’s guidance;
    • talked to staff to learn from their knowledge and experience of areas and activities, and listen to their concerns and opinions about health and safety issues in the workplace; and
    • looked at the accident book, to understand what had previously resulted in incidents.
  2. The manager then wrote down who could be harmed by the hazards and how.
  3. For each hazard, the manager wrote down what controls, if any, were in place to manage these hazards. These controls were then compared to the good practice guidance on HSE’s website. Where existing controls were not considered good enough, the manager wrote down what else needed to be done to control the risk.
  4. Putting the risk assessment into practice, the manager decided and recorded who was responsible for implementing the further actions and when they should be done. When each action was completed, it was ticked off and the date recorded. The risk assessment was displayed in the mess room for all staff to see.
  5. The manager discussed the findings with the staff. A decision was made to review and update the risk assessment every year or straightaway if any major changes in the workplace happened.
Updated 2012-11-29