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Example risk assessment for an estate agency

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 office manager carried out the risk assessment in this estate agency, which employs 12 staff and is located on a high street. The shop deals primarily with domestic premises, with occasional involvement in the sale and letting of commercial premises. The shop is open from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm, six days a week and 10.00 am to 4.00 pm on Sundays.

How was the risk assessment done?

The manager followed the guidance in HSE’s Controlling the risks in the workplace.

  1. To identify the hazards, the manager:
    • looked at HSE’s office health and safety web pages to find out where hazards can occur, and to look for information on work-related violence;
    • walked around the shop, stockroom and other areas noting, what might pose a risk and taking what he had learned from the HSE web pages into consideration;
    • talked to the deputy manager and staff to learn from their knowledge and experience, and to listen to their concerns and opinions about health and safety issues;
    • looked at the accident book, to find out which particular risks have previously resulted in incidents.
  2. The manager 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 set out in HSE’s publications and 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 set out when the actions that were needed would be done and who would do them. The manager decided that these actions would be ticked off as they were completed, the findings would be discussed with staff, and risk assessment displayed in the staffroom. He also decided to make it part of the induction process for new staff.
  5. The manager decided to review and update the risk assessment every year, or straightaway if major changes in the workplace happened.
Updated 2014-09-01