Step 1: Identify the hazards
First you need to work out how people could be harmed. When you work in a place everyday it is easy to overlook some hazards, so here are some tips to help you identify the ones that matter:
- Walk around your workplace and look at what could reasonably be expected to cause harm.
- Ask your employees or their representatives what they think. They may have noticed things that are not immediately obvious to you. For information on how you can do this please visit our worker involvement pages.
- Visit the HSE website. HSE publishes practical guidance on where hazards occur and how to control them. There is much information on the hazards that might affect your business.
- If you are a member of a trade association, contact them. Many produce very helpful guidance.
- Check manufacturers’ instructions or data sheets for chemicals and equipment as they can be very helpful in spelling out the hazards and putting them in their true perspective.
- Have a look back at your accident and ill-health records – these often help to identify the less obvious hazards.
- Remember to think about long-term hazards to health (eg high levels of noise or exposure to harmful substances) as well as safety hazards.
Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how