This article is the first in a series about the much debated topic of risk assessment. Every month Jonathan Gough will provide risk assessment advice and guidance.

Risk assessment is considered an area where most of us have knowledge gained through our personal experiences. Current health and safety legislation identifies that the risk assessment process should be used to identify and control workplace risks to keep ourselves and others healthy.

Experience has shown that risk assessment is generally misunderstood as many risk assessments are completed and lie dormant until either an incident occurs or an audit is undertaken. It is common to read that the investigation process after an incident often reveals an insufficient risk assessment was completed.

So what makes a good risk assessment?

  • To be effective the risk assessment process should be identified as an employee engagement tool.
  • A risk assessment needs to be communicated and discussed; not hidden away and forgotten or even worse ignored.
  • The risk assessment should be written in plain English. Making something simple is harder than it sounds.
  • Treat risk assessments as ‘organic documents’ they should be reviewed and amended as the risk(s) associated with the assessment change.
  • Layout the risk assessment in a manner that is suitable for the topic, the organisation and those reading the material, keep it simple and user friendly.

The five step process developed by the HSE is a good starting point. If you are looking at developing or reviewing your risk assessments contact the Cardinus Consultancy team for advice at [email protected]

We will look at each point in more depth in future editions.

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