Step 4: Record your findings and implement them
At this stage you should have identified measures you are already taking to keep your staff safe, as well as actions that you could take to improve things further. You need to decide how you are going to put these actions in place. Remember, it is action and not paperwork that protects people; risk assessment is a means to an end, not an end in itself. You will need to prioritise and may want to think about the following to help you work out your priorities:
- Can I use more than one measure? A combination of measures may be more effective than relying on just one. Can I use a mixture of both short and long-term measures that will get me both 'quick wins' and longer-term effectiveness?
- How will staff react to these measures? How do I demonstrate the value of the measures?
- What are the potential negative aspects of the measures, eg dress codes, searches, strict returns policies?
- How much will these interventions cost in comparison to their effectiveness? Control measures do not always have to be expensive to be effective.
Once you've decided what measures you need to do to keep your staff safe, you need to put them into action. Remember, paperwork on its own makes no difference; only when you have taken actions will you be protecting people.
- Appoint a responsible person to ensure the actions are carried out.
- Ensure the measures are realistic and agreed within specific timescales.
- Decide how you will effectively and consistently inform, instruct and train staff in your measures.
Decide who does what and record your findings
Decide how you are going to implement any of the actions you've identified in your risk assessment and ensure this is communicated to all staff. Make sure you prioritise and decide who is going to do what and by when. In most cases your decisions will need to be written down.
If you employ five or more people you have a legal duty to record the significant findings of your risk assessment. You will also need to share the results of your findings with your employees.
The risk assessment findings should be fit for purpose. It is the quality of the findings and not the quantity that matters. If you wish, you can refer to other documents such as a health and safety manual or your policies and procedures, company rules etc, rather than writing them out in the assessment findings.
The HSE website contains more information on risk assessment and Microsoft Word or Open Document Format templates for recording your decisions.
You now need to go on to the final step of the risk assessment process: Step 5 - Review your risk assessment and update if necessary