Published 16 Jul 2023
What is a Health and Safety Risk Assessment?
A health and safety risk assessment is a process that identifies, analyzes, controls, and eliminates hazards that can cause injury or illness to the workforce and negatively impact the business. Employers are required by law to conduct health and safety risk assessments to ensure the safety of their employees and the public.
In this article
- What are the Most Common Health and Safety Risks?
- 5 Steps to Effectively Implement Health and Safety Risk Assessment
- What are Health and Safety Risk Assessment Templates?
- Featured Health and Safety Risk Assessment Templates
What are the Most Common Health and Safety Risks?
Among all the variety of risks in the workplace, here are three of the most common risks to occupational health and safety according to the latest statistics from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE):
Manual Handling and Repetitive Action
According to the HSE, manual handling, awkward or tiring positions, working with keyboards, and repetitive actions are the main causes of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Self-reported cases have been in decline over the years but these still continue to be one of the highest health and safety risks in the workplace particularly among the following industries: agriculture, construction, healthcare, and social work.
Cases are on the rise for work-related stress, depression, or anxiety mostly caused by workload, lack of support, workplace violence, bullying, and even work changes. These challenges to mental health are highest in HVAC supply, public administration, healthcare, and education. Steps can be taken to recognize challenges and extend assistance to employees who need help and support.
Work-related respiratory issues are on the rise and these include cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, asbestos-caused lung cancer, and mesothelioma which is also caused by past exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is recognized to be a dangerous material and safety measures have already been mandated to mitigate exposure.
5 Steps to Effectively Implement Health and Safety Risk Assessment
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), employers and self-employed persons are legally required to make an assessment of health and safety risks that may be present in their workplace. Risk assessments should be carried out before proceeding with the work task. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to complete a health and safety risk assessment:
- Identify the hazard
Walk around the workplace and assess activities, processes, or substances that could be a potential cause of injury. Hazards can be classified into 4 different types, these are:
- Physical (e.g., lifting, slips and trips, noise dust, machinery, etc.)
- Mental (e.g., excess workload, long hours, bullying, etc.)
- Chemical (e.g., asbestos, cleaning fluids, aerosols, etc.)
- Biological (e.g., infectious diseases, tuberculosis, hepatitis, etc.)
- Determine who it affects and how
Once hazards are identified, identify which persons in the organization are at risk. Review work routine, location, and situation of employees. Another thing to consider is the health and safety of the public. This refers to those who don’t work in the organization but are exposed to potential hazards due to business operations. For example, in construction sites, passersby are at risk of potential injury from debris, chemical substances, etc.
- Assess the risks and take corrective action
Employers must now analyze risks to determine the corrective actions to take. Two key questions to ask when assessing the risks and formulating corrective actions are:
- How bad would the most severe injury be if a person is exposed to the hazard?
- How likely is the person to be injured if exposed to the hazard?
- Use health and safety risk assessment forms for better documentation
Risk assessments should be documented to serve as proof that it was carried out, and as a basis for later review of working practices. The report should include details of hazards identified and the corrective action taken.
- Review risk assessment and update
Risk assessments should be reviewed regularly to check if the control measures taken are effective or needs updating. It should be reviewed every time a business goes through changes that may increase the likelihood of new hazards arising.
What are Health and Safety Risk Assessment Templates?
Health and Safety Risk Assessment forms are valuable tools used primarily to control risks in the workplace and to improve overall HSE management. These Health and Safety Risk Assessment templates can help you (1) identify health and safety hazards associated with job tasks, (2) determine the people at risk, (3) record and analyze significant data, and (4) set preventive measures to further reduce or eliminate risks.
We have collected 6 of the best digital templates that you can use for your health and safety risk assessments to help maintain and improve health and safety in your workplace. These templates can be downloaded for free into the SafetyCulture mobile health and safety software and enable you to perform paperless inspections on your hand-held device. Incorporate these HSE risk assessment tools with your company strategies and catch risks before things go wrong.
Featured Health and Safety Risk Assessment Templates
This is a comprehensive HSE Management template that can be used by authorized personnel to evaluate how organizations and businesses manage health and safety in their workspace or environment. It is divided into 2 sections - HSE Management and HSE Performance Monitoring - and each entails an evaluation of HSE management protocols. Complete the audit by providing an overall rating of the HSE management and list all people involved in the evaluation. You can use the SafetyCulture app on your mobile anytime even while you’re offline.
Browse this collection of free health and safety audit checklists which can be used while conducting site walkthroughs, H&S staff induction, and OSHA regulatory inspection. Use SafetyCulture to eliminate paperwork, improve data gathering processes, and save all H&S reports in SafetyCulture’s secure cloud storage.
Environmental hazards such as odour, noise, vibrations, emissions, and structural ground have potential to negatively impact or affect people’s health and safety. Specific examples are asbestos, lead, pesticides, harmful gases, and trenching. You can use this checklist to assess if your workplace or area contain these harmful materials. Capture photo evidence of risks and submit reports to your managers in real time.
Execution of incorrect manual handling and lifting practices can cause serious multiple musculoskeletal disorders and other serious accidents like cuts or fractures. Supervisors and safety managers can use this HSE Risk Assessment Form to evaluate how their workers perform tasks which require a lot of bodily strength. This checklist can be a useful tool to highlight problems and issues when lifting loads and materials.
Exposure to hazardous chemicals and substances should be controlled to avoid the workers’ acquisition of diseases and other health problems. This Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) form can be used to identify the hazards associated with the activity or work processes involved with hazardous substances. List control measures and personal protective equipment to be used when handling these substances. Use SafetyCulture to conduct better risk assessments to reduce or eliminate health hazards.
A workplace health and safety assessment form is used to examine and review if existing control measures are effective and efficient. Use this workplace health and safety assessment to identify hazards, and evaluate its severity, frequency, probability of loss, and significance.