A hazard is something with the potential to cause harm.
Risk is the likelihood that a hazard will cause harm.
Risk assessment identifies the hazards and evaluates the risks, with the object of selecting appropriate safety measures.
Risk assessment helps you build safety into your design. It also shows the residual risks after you have included safeguards in the design. This can help you prepare instructions that you need to supply with the machine.
Your risk assessment will:
- identify the uses for which the machinery is intended
- identify how the machinery is likely to be used and misused
- identify hazards in connection with the use and operation of the machine
- assess the level of injury or harm that can result from exposure to each hazard
- assess what safety measures may be used and the protection that they can provide
- minimise risks by selecting safety measures that you can integrate into the design.
We have prepared an example risk assessment for a flail hedge cutter to illustrate how you can gather the information you need to evaluate risks associated with a machine before it is built. This lists typical hazards associated with the use of the machine, and the likely source of each identified hazard.