Just doing a risk assessment isn’t enough. This may sound obvious, but they have to be done right. Here are a few things not to do, and what to do instead.
If you’re looking for the steps you must take when carrying out a workplace risk assessment, check out The Five Steps to a successful Risk Assessment.
- Set and forget it
Once completed, a risk assessment document cannot just be left indefinitely. If there is an incident, or a change at site that makes you think it may no longer cover all that it needs to, it’s time to review. If not, be sure to review them at least annually.
Top tip: Set up reminder to ensure that essential document reviews aren’t forgotten.
- Use vague wording
What is ‘heavy’ varies person to person. If you mean 25kg, say it. Equally, if there is a piece of protective clothing or equipment required, specify exactly which this is rather than saying ‘wear protective clothing’.
Top tip: Have a member of another team or colleague read through your document and confirm wording is all clear and easy to understand.
- Assume that one size fits all
It is often a good idea to use other risk assessments to help inform another. This can prevent contradictions and ensure that consistent language is used. But if the same equipment is to be used at a different site, don’t forget to add or remove information to reflect a different environment.
Top tip: Check out industry templates and standards (available online) for guidance.
- Doing it from the office (or home)
A risk assessment isn’t about what should happen, but about what could happen. To spot these things, you need to have risk assessments filled out by someone on site.
Top tip: Ensure you have processes in place that make sure that both generic and dynamic (i.e. new sites/jobs) risk assessments are completed by the most appropriate people.
- Filling it and filing it
Once completed, a risk assessment isn’t just to be filed away, job done, tick. If people don’t know about the risks of safeguards, they won’t be able to protect themselves. Ensure that you share the findings with all relevant parties.
Top tip: Store site specific risk assessments centrally, (ideally on a cloud-based system,) so that all those re-visiting a site will have access to historic information.
Avoid these common pitfalls and you’ll be well placed to keep your field teams safe.