Risk Assessments

Health and Safety issues are a constant problem for businesses. It’s your legal responsibility to overcome these problems.

The Management of Health and Safety at work regulations 1999, require employers to make a suitable and sufficient workplace risk assessment of the health and safety risks to employees arising from work activities.

A risk assessment is an undertaking to prevent accidents and ill health related to work rather than reacting to an accident or incident after it occurs. The law does not expect you to eliminate all types of risk, but you are required to protect people as far as is “reasonably practicable”.

The Herald of Free Enterprise Ferry DisasterIn 1987, it was the deaths of 193 passengers and crew in the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry disaster that pushed the failings in corporate liability to the forefront of public attention.

A report  was published placing blame on the First Officer for  the fact that the bow doors were unclosed,  and on the captain for leaving port without knowing if the doors were closed. The ship’s owners were also castigated and the whole disaster was identified as a “disease of sloppiness” and negligence at every level of the corporation’s hierarchy.

A risk assessment is an examination of what within your business could harm people. This will enable you to know if you’ve taken enough measures to prevent accidents happening or incidents that could cause harm to people.

An inadequate risk assessment is a criminal offence and you are required to have a suitable risk assessment carried out by a competent person.  If you get this wrong and an HSE inspector knocks on your door looking to see your Health and Safety Risk Assessments in accordance with The Health and safety at Work Act you could be facing a very substantial fine.