As we all know, Risk Assessments are required to have been carried out for every work activity. A failure to have a suitable or sufficient Risk Assessment can lead to accidents and legal action being taken against you, but what is considered SUITABLE & SUFFICIENT?
Basically, the information recorded in the Risk Assessment should contain sufficient information for the reader to understand the task and its component parts and ensure that there are suitable control measures put in place in order to either remove or control a hazard.
Many companies believe they achieve this standard but in reality fall massively short. Recent examples of shortfalls identified by staff at Lighthouse are as follows:
When PPE is stated as a control measure in the Risk Assessment, it is frequently stated as: “Wear appropriate PPE”. This type of information is neither suitable nor sufficient. The type of PPE needs to be clearly stated including the BS EN numbers for the standards of PPE required. PPE is a last resort when controlling a hazard and should therefore be properly selected.
The word appropriate is often mentioned in many Risk Assessments and it leaves the reader to determine where or how the action needs to carried out appropriately. Many Risk Assessments state sentences such as “Store materials appropriately to the task”.
A Specific Risk Assessment should be able to identify and state exactly where the “appropriate” location is. The Risk Assessment should read more like “Materials should be positioned – and then state an exact location”.
Just remember: the more accurate the information on the Risk Assessment, the more safe the task will be. This will lead to less confusion about the safety requirements of the task.
Should you require more information on Risk Assessments or someone to train you and your staff on the risk assessment process, then please contact us direct on 01634 260631.