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Five steps to risk assessment

This is not the only way to do a risk assessment, there are other methods that work well, particularly for more complex risks and circumstances. However, we believe this method is the most straightforward for most organisations.

How to assess the risks in your workplace

Follow the five steps in our leaflet: Five steps to risk assessment.

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on precaution
  4. Record your findings and implement them
  5. Review your assessment and update if necessary

Don’t overcomplicate the process. In many organisations, the risks are well known and the necessary control measures are easy to apply. You probably already know whether, for example, you have employees who move heavy loads and so could harm their backs, or where people are most likely to slip or trip. If so, check that you have taken reasonable precautions to avoid injury.

If you run a small organisation and you are confident you understand what’s involved, you can do the assessment yourself. You don’t have to be a health and safety expert.

Download the Risk Assessment and Policy Template. This template brings together your risk assessment, health and safety policy, and record of health and safety arrangements into one document to help you get started and save time. If you already have a health and safety policy, you may choose to simply complete the risk assessment part of the template. We also have a number of example risk assessments to show you what a risk assessment might look like. Choose the example closest to your own business and use it as a guide for completing the template, adapting it to meet the needs of your own business.

If you work in a larger organisation, you could ask a health and safety adviser to help you. If you are not confident, get help from someone who is competent. In all cases, you should make sure that you involve your staff or their representatives in the process. They will have useful information about how the work is done that will make your assessment of the risk more thorough and effective. But remember, you are responsible for seeing that the assessment is carried out properly.
When thinking about your risk assessment, remember:

Step 1: Identify the hazards

Updated 2012-11-29