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Example risk assessment for food preparation and service

Important reminder

This example risk assessment shows the kind of approach a small business might take. It can be used 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.

This example risk assessment applies to food preparation and food service areas (restaurants, cafés, sandwich bars, pubs, takeaways or hotel kitchens).

Setting the scene

The catering manager carried out the risk assessment in this café. The business employs five permanent staff working a variety of shifts to prepare, cook and serve food. A young person under 16 helps on a Saturday to serve food and load and unload the dishwasher. An employment permit for the young person has been obtained from the local authority. One staff member does not speak English well. The business, which is located on the high street, is open from 7.00 am to 5.30 pm.

How was the risk assessment done?

The manager followed the guidance in Controlling the risks in the workplace.

  1. To identify the hazards, the manager:
    • looked at the guidance on HSE’s web pages for catering and hospitality and the employment of young people;
    • walked around the kitchen, the stockroom and all other areas, noting things that might pose a risk and taking HSE’s guidance into consideration;
    • talked to staff to learn from their knowledge and experience, and to listen to their concerns and opinions. He paid particular attention to the requirements for ensuring the young person's safety;
    • looked at the accident book, to understand what particular risks previously resulted in incidents.
  2. The manager wrote down who could be harmed and how.
  3. The manager then wrote down what controls, if any, were in place to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of somebody being hurt. He compared these controls to the good practice in HSE’s guidance. Where he did not consider the existing controls to be good enough, he wrote down what else needed to be done.
  4. The manager put in place the actions the risk assessment identified as necessary. He discussed the findings with staff, pinned it up in a prominent place so that all staff could see it and made it part of the induction process for new staff. He told the young person's guardians about the findings of the risk assessment and how risk to that young person will be controlled. And he made sure that the worker, who had difficulty understanding English, had the safety arrangements explained to her in a language she understood.
  5. The manager decided to review the risk assessment every year, or straightaway if major changes in the workplace happened. To get a better understanding of the risks, the manager also asked staff to report any accident, however minor.
Updated 2014-09-01