Controlling the risks in the workplace


Employers and self-employed people have a legal obligation to identify the risks to workers and anyone else, for example members of the public, who may be affected by their work activity, and to take appropriate action to counter these risks.

Employers and self-employed people should conduct a 'risk assessment' to help them fulfil this legal obligation. Carrying out a risk assessment can be simple. Most employers carry out small risk assessments anyway, for example in checking up on the skills and experience of a new driver (ie assessing any risks involved in having them drive).

A systematic risk assessment could save time, save money, and save lives.


Here are the 5 steps in performing a risk assessment, and keeping it up-to-date:

  1. Recognize the hazards - Where might accidents happen?
  2. Identify who is at risk - and how might they be harmed?
  3. Evaluate the risks - Assess whether existing precautions are adequate or whether more are needed.
  4. Record your findings - Compulsory if there are more than four people in the business, and best practice in any case.
  5. Review the risk assessment - both periodically and if circumstances change.

The following guidance should help you perform your risk assessment in relation to Workplace transport. More detailed guidance is available in the HSE publication Controlling the risks in the workplace.

1. Recognize the hazards

First, identify the work activities involving vehicles, including visiting vehicles, over a reasonable period (maybe over the course of a week). The activities are likely to include:

Employers can then identify the risks associated with these activities. Ask, "What are the possible dangers, and what is causing those dangers?" For example:

2. Identifying who is at risk

For each risk that you identify, determine who might be hurt, and how.

Think about everyone in the workplace, including all employees (full-time, part-time and casual), contractors and sub-contractors, visiting drivers, customers, cleaners, visitors, members of the public, etc.

3. Evaluating the risks

For each risk, and bearing in mind who is at risk, consider the chances that an accident will happen and how serious it might be, and assess whether existing precautions are enough or whether more are needed.

In effect you should ask "Has anything been done to reduce this risk, and is it enough?"

If you conclude that something more needs to be done, it is recommended that you follow this procedure:

4. Record your findings

If you have five or more people in your organisation you must record what you find when you do a risk assessment.

If you have fewer than five employees you are not required to record anything, but you may find it useful to do so anyway.

This means:

You should also inform your employees, especially any safety representatives, about what you find.

5. Review the risk assessment

You should review your risk assessment regularly, even if you think nothing much has changed.

Establish a timetable. Think about:

Sooner or later you are likely to introduce new vehicles, or change the traffic routes, or something else will change about the way you use vehicles. This could well lead to new risks. The risk assessment should always be kept up-to-date with working practices and equipment, regardless of any reviews that may be due 'soon'.