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When do I need to do a risk assessment?

Risk assessments should form part of any business plan.

The completion of risk assessments all depends on your business activities (ie. what you do), the services you provide and if you're an employer.

Quite often risk assessments can be seen as a business burden, creating unnecessary red tape. Which, once prepared may be shared with a client, filed away and forgotten about.

However, the whole purpose of the assessment is to work through a process of eliminating or reducing risk in your business.

If you employ five or more people then a written risk assessment must be prepared which looks at the working activities; who could be harmed and how; and the likelihood of harm occurring. So even if it's just a low risk environment such as an office, this process still has to be followed.

If you employ less than five people in a low risk working environment, you don't have to write anything down but there is still a requirement to protect people who could be at risk, and put in place measures to control those risks.

If you're self employed and your work activity/working environment (such as a workshop or garage) poses a risk to the health and safety of others, then it's important to put in place measures to prove that you have taken account of the risks and introduced appropriate controls.

Likewise if you use equipment, substances or materials which could result in someone being injured or becoming ill, then the risk assessment requirement applies.

So, although a window cleaner originally working at height introduces a safer system of work by using a telescopic pole instead, a health and safety risk is still likely to remain with trailing water pipes across footpaths and therefore preventative control measures will still be needed.

Overall, your risk assessment needs to either eliminate or reduce the likelihood of a problem occurring whether that's a near miss or an incident resulting in injury.

If you would like help and assistance completing your risk assessments, please get in touch.

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