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How to Conduct a Workplace Risk Assessment

19 November 2021

Home > Blog

> How to Conduct a Workplace Risk Assessment

Read this blog for a complete guide to workplace risk assessments: what they are, why they’re important and the benefits.

As people start heading back into the workplace post-pandemic, it’s never been more crucial to undertake a risk assessment to maintain your duty of care to keep your people safe.

🔍And currently, UK businesses lose 38.8 million working days due to work-related illness and injury.

But, with COVID-19 presenting new threats to people’s health, organisations that want to continue with business-as-usual will need to invent new ways to protect their people and maintain a healthy workforce. 

In this blog we’ll look at:

  • What a workplace risk assessment is
  • Why it’s so important and what you need to consider
  • The benefits of workplace design and risk assessment

Plus, we’ll share how tech can make the process simpler. 


As an employer, it is your duty to protect your employees, and anyone else on-site, from illness or injuries caused by the work environment.

And this is why a workplace risk assessment is crucial. It determines how to prevent incidents by conducting a legally mandated assessment.

Here’s how 👇

A workplace risk assessment examines potential causes of harm. Organisations can then decide whether they have taken enough precautions to prevent them.

The legal bit: It’s a legal requirement that all measures must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated regulations by reducing the number of incidents in the workplace. And aside from well-being, if you employ five or more people, you’ve also a legal obligation to document your evaluation.

How the pandemic changes this: However, with COVID-19 now thrown into the mix, a standard risk assessment is unlikely to be thorough enough. For example, a traditional risk assessment may not consider if there are specific cleaning protocols in place to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Subsequently, your risk assessment should also follow public health regulations and current government guidelines. Workplace risk assessments help to ensure you’re keeping your employees and on-site visitors safe during the pandemic.


Every workplace has its own set of potential threats which could cause ill health or injury. Threats vary in scope and nature and could range from a wet floor to something much more severe, like the spread of coronavirus. 

However, risk assessments help drastically reduce the likelihood of accidents or illness at work by raising awareness of hazards and enabling you to come up with a prevention plan.

Here are the main steps you need to follow when carrying out a workplace risk assessment:


The first step is to identify anything that can cause harm. On top of the common hazards you would usually look for, you must now also consider how people could transmit COVID to each other on-site.

For example: If your spaces aren’t well-ventilated, staff may be at greater risk.

💡Top tip: Take a walk around your workplace and make a note of any safety concerns you have. Once you’ve created a list, it’s a good idea to ask other people what they think. Someone else may notice a hazard that isn’t immediately obvious to you, especially if they fall into a more vulnerable category. 


For each hazard you listed, you must consider everyone that is at risk of harm. You don’t have to identify each person by name; instead, make a note of particular groups. For example, ‘on-site visitors’.

By considering specific parties, you’ll be able to establish the best way of mitigating risks in the workplace for anyone who may be directly affected. 

Again, it would be best to ask someone else to double-check that you haven’t missed anyone. Remember, some people may be at higher risk than others, including:

✅ New hires who are unfamiliar with the workplace

✅ Younger, inexperienced workers

✅ Disabled and chronically ill people

✅ Pregnant people

✅ People who aren’t on-site all the time

✅ Members of the public near the site

You should then also consider the likelihood of an incident and the severity of the potential outcome. Covering all the worst-case scenarios of a workplace hazard will help you to develop appropriate precautionary solutions. 


Now that you’ve identified the potential hazards, you need to devise a way to avoid them.

The best way to put preventative measures in place is to look at your current risk assessment processes and determine whether they’re effective enough or need an upgrade. You then need to look at any threats where you don’t currently have any defences in place and implement a solution. 

If you can’t eliminate a hazard altogether, you should instead consider ways to control the risk. 

Here are some steps you can take to lower the chances of accident or injury 👇

  1. Try a less dangerous alternative: For example, if your workers use chemicals, research the safest option and switch out products to less harmful versions.
  2. Prevent access to the hazard: If people don’t need to enter hazardous areas regularly, consider putting barriers in place to prevent access.
  3. Reduce exposure to the hazard: Don’t expose anyone to potential threats unless absolutely necessary. You must ensure that all employees are adequately trained to deal with any hazardous situation they may find themselves in because of their job role.
  4. Provide personal protective equipment: The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 state that you must provide suitable protective gear to your workers who may be exposed to a hazard unless you’ve adequately controlled threats by other means.
  5. Ensure there are welfare facilities: You must supply your staff with first aid kits and ensure there are designated first aiders in your office. To help prevent the spread of COVID and other illnesses, you should also provide suitable hand-washing facilities. 


Companies with five or more employees must keep a record of their workplace risk assessment findings. This can be a little tricky to manage and that’s why industry leaders leverage tech.

With a field service management system, you can keep an electronic record of all risk assessments for future reference, saving you from manually filing and storing your findings.  

Following the evaluation, you should document the following information:

✅ Which safety hazards the assessor identified

✅ The persons or groups that could be affected

✅ The methods your organisation put in place to mitigate safety risks

✅ Who is monitoring the preventative measures

✅ Who carried out the assessment

✅ The date of the assessment

It’s also vital to make all employees aware of your plan and spread awareness of risks in the workplace. A better understanding of safety hazards and measures you’ve put in place will help lower the risk of an illness or injury.

For example: Some companies are still recommending that people continue to wear masks indoors to prevent the spread of COVID.

📕Keen to learn more? For more guidance on working safely during the pandemic, visit the GOV.UK website.


Now, more than ever, risks in the workplace are constantly changing. So it’s key to ensure your risk assessments are kept up-to-date and that you re-assess whether your preventative measures are effective at regular intervals.

Here are some examples of when you may need to review your previous assessment:

✅ Following a workplace health or injury-related incident

✅ When someone has reported a near-miss

✅ If there have been significant changes within the workplace

Along with ensuring you protect your most important asset, your people, there are additional benefits of workplace risk assessments…


Here are the top five benefits of executing a thorough assessment of safety requirements:


If you don’t have the necessary measures in place to protect your workers, you could face a colossal financial loss.

Keep costs down. Not only could you be fined for non-compliance, but you may also have to pay compensation, replace damaged equipment and train replacement staff whilst your injured worker is away. Also, if you are fined for non-compliance, your insurance premiums could also skyrocket, and your industry reputation will likely take a hit.

Carrying out an in-depth workplace risk assessment and taking the necessary steps to reduce potential hazards will result in fewer illnesses and injuries.

Protect morale. In addition, employees that feel safe at work are less likely to leave, meaning you’ll have decreased turnover and training costs.

A workplace risk assessment needn’t be costly, but any investment you do need to make to maintain compliance are minimal compared to the potential costs following an incident.


🔍Did you know that over the last year, 142 UK workers suffered a fatality at work?

Workplace risk assessments not only lower the chance of employees suffering from minor illnesses or injuries, but they save lives. 

For example: If your workers use heavy machinery, are frequently exposed to toxic materials – such as asbestos – or work with electricity, the probability of an accident increases dramatically. As such, it becomes even more crucial to conduct a thorough workplace risk assessment. 

Highlighting potential risks to your workers may make them think twice about doing something dangerous and, therefore, considerably reduce the likelihood of a disaster.


Whenever your employees report an incident, people will likely want to know who was at fault.

If the affected individual or party believes that the company’s negligence caused the problem, it could result in serious legal proceedings and fines. 

Here’s how much you could pay 👇

Since 2016, the Sentencing Council introduced new guidelines that outlined harsher penalties and fines for organisations that fail to competently manage health and safety matters. As a result, the average fine has shot up to a staggering £150,000. So, if your business is found guilty, you could end up paying dearly.

When conducted with due care and diligence, a sufficient risk assessment can significantly minimise the chance that your business will be found guilty of non-compliance. Instead, you can rest assured that you’ve taken the correct and reasonable steps towards keeping everyone safe on-site.


Workplace risk assessments eradicate the barriers that prevent your employees from doing their jobs and provide them with the correct tools to complete tasks.

Instead of wasting time trying to resolve issues resulting from unsuitable working practices or equipment, they will be able to carry on with their work stress-free and be much more productive.

Plus, a safe and healthy workplace results in happier staff, fewer sick days and more company loyalty.

🔍Did you know? Organisations with highly engaged employees enjoy 21% greater profitability, proving that employee happiness can make a big difference to your bottom line.


Companies that effectively prevent workplace-related illnesses and accidents are able to build a strong reputation with their employees and clients.

So, maintaining a safe work environment and avoiding negative publicity is imperative if you want to ensure your business keeps its good name. 

🔍 In fact, companies risk losing 22% of business if potential customers find a negative article in their search results.

Key takeaway? Make an effort upfront to carry out a comprehensive workplace risk assessment and put sufficient preventative measures in place. As a result, you may find that you’re able to win more work.


Your people are your most important asset. 

BigChange gives you the power to keep your employees working safely and ensure their personal information is secure and up-to-date.

With our online driver behaviour analysis, risk assessments, method statements and vehicle walkaround checks, you can rest assured that health and safety are a number one priority. Want to find out more? See how BigChange can help with running smooth and thorough workplace risk assessments. Arrange a free demo today.

19th November 2021



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