Managing risk: From assessment to control. Bringing your risk assessment to life
As an employer, you’re required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm. Effective risk management systems allow an organisation, large or small, to meet its legal requirements in protecting workers by not only identifying risk but putting in place measures to ensure adequate risk controls.
Too often risk assessment becomes a tick-box exercise but it’s vitally important that the organisation is mindful of the risks that are identified and takes ongoing action to monitor and manage them. This strong focus on worker health and safety, in turn, benefits organisational performance.
Health and safety management should be a key element of your organisational management system. It involves practical steps that protect people from harm and at the same time enable the future success and the growth of your business. Risk Assessment in an essential part of the overall process used to control risks in your workplace. But don’t be tempted to stop there! It’s important to systematically consider your workplace risks but it’s equally important to then go on to put comprehensive measures in place to control them. You also need to make sure that you monitor them on a regular basis to provide confidence that they remain under control and to consider whether any new risks have been introduced. In summary the process should comprise the following steps:
- Identify hazards
- Assess the risks
- Control the risks
- Record your findings
- Review the controls
You’re not expected to eliminate every single individual risk, but you need to prioritise your workplace risks and to demonstrate that you have done everything that is ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect people from harm. This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the real risk in terms of money, time or effort.
HSE has interpreted regulations and provided organisations with some practical guidance that they can use to help build a risk management programme:
The Official HSE Health and Safety app for SMEs provides guidance at your fingertips. The app contains guidance from the hse.gov.uk website, The Health and Safety Toolbox publication (HSG 268), A guide to managing risk, and a section on work-related stress using HSE’s stress management standards approach.
HSE also offers training courses, developed in-house to give further guidance for organisations, which offers the opportunity to engage with experts through online or face to face learning.
HSE Inspectors’ Guide to Risk Management: Risk Assessment and Control training course is being delivered live online presently, presented by a senior HSE inspector with over 25 years’ experience.
In April 2021 HSE launched a new qualification, developed collaboratively with NEBOSH. The NEBOSH HSE Award in Managing Risk and Risk Assessment at Work is an introductory level qualification structured around HSE’s approach to controlling the risks caused by workplace hazards. This new course outlines the changes of emphasis within HSE guidance from Risk Assessment to Risk Control. It is designed to encourage organisations to establish a culture which focuses on the whole process of proactively managing workplace risk, not just on the risk assessment activity alone.
Listen: Work-related stress and the wellbeing of frontline workers
In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, hear from Peter Kelly, Senior Psychologist for the Health and Safety Executive about work-related stress.
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