A risk assessment - also known as the health and safety survey - is a legal obligation for any employer. And if you have five or more employees, you're legally required to write it down. But on top of that, it's the most effective first step towards making your workplace safe for you, your employees and the public. This guide introduces you to:
The assessment looks at any hazards in your workplace that could injure you, employees or members of the public. Simple is best - just jot down what the risks are, who they could harm, and what precautions you need to take. If you're a fairly small business and feel confident doing it yourself, you can - if you feel that you need help, get in touch with a safety consultant. The government's health and safety helpline can help - 0845 345 0055.
Keep an eye out for cables on the floor, hazardous chemicals and cleaning liquids, poorly lit areas, badly ventilated areas, exposure to high noise or vibration levels, faulty equipment, bad waste management, bad drainage, wobbly ladders, lack of training for equipment, fire safety, steps and low ceilings, slippery surfaces, safe vehicle loading and unloading.
You then implement all precautions needed - signs warning of steps or hazardous materials, training for equipment, regular checks to make sure everything is safe and hygienic, and so on. Once that's done, update your assessment. Review it regularly to make sure there are no new risks and make staff aware of any hazards that you can't fix.
You only have to write down your assessment if you have five or more employees. Just note down risks, who they could affect and how you're dealing with them. If you have less than five employees, you might find it useful to manage your health and safety by keeping a written record, but you don't have to.
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