Risk assessment procedure – Issue 2 – March 2018

This procedure replaces all previous corporate policies and procedures relating to risk assessment.

Purpose

Hampshire County Council (HCC) is committed to reducing the risk of injury and ill health to its employees and anyone who might be affected by its operations. This procedure sets out a consistent approach to undertaking risk assessments. The aim is to reduce risk and secure compliance with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, as amended.

Scope

Where appropriate, HCC staff should follow this procedure for carrying out and recording risk assessments

This procedure does not require the following:

  • Transcribing perfectly good records to the new format for no benefit
  • Repeating previous risk assessments which are not due for review
  • Repeating assessments carried out as a requirement of other Corporate Procedures, such as Display Screen Equipment, or Workplace Transport
  • Replacing suitable arrangements where the specific nature of the activity requires dedicated assessment and recording processes, e.g. Care Plans in Adults’ Health & Care

The procedure covers:

  • hazard
  • risk
  • risk assessment
  • recording risk assessments
  • reviewing risk assessments
Terminology

Risk assessment – the process of identifying hazards and sensible measures to control the risks in the workplace.

Hazard – something that has the potential to cause harm.

Risk – the likelihood that a hazard will cause harm.

Suitable and sufficient – an assessment that identifies significant hazards and reasonable precautions to reduce the remaining risks to low levels.

Significant findings – a simple record, identifying the hazards, who might be harmed and focusing on how the risks are controlled.

Employees identified as being especially at risk (vulnerable groups) – those who may have particular requirements, e.g. young persons, new or expectant mothers, people with disabilities, migrant workers.

Risk assessment guide

Download the guide Risk assessment – A brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace

Procedure

The aim of risk assessment is to control significant risks to health and safety. It is not about producing large amounts of paperwork. Only the significant findings of a risk assessment have to be recorded. Managers must ensure that anyone undertaking a risk assessment has received sufficient training for this activity.

Hazard identification

Those responsible for undertaking risk assessments should start by identifying the hazards, i.e. things with potential to cause harm. This could involve a walk around the workplace and discussions with employees and/or their representatives. Assessors should consider the work tasks, the types of staff undertaking them and other persons who may use the building. Hazards from non-routine operations, such as cleaning and maintenance work, also need to be identified.

Groups of people who may be harmed could include groups of employees working in a particular role or area of the workplace, service users, visitors, contractors, maintenance staff, etc. Employees identified as being especially at risk, for example new or expectant mothers, also need to be considered.

Other sources of information which can help identify hazards include manufacturers’ instructions for work equipment, accident and ill health records, and guidance from the Health and Safety Executive.

Likelihood

Once the significant hazards have been identified, the likelihood of harm actually occurring needs to be assessed. We cannot eliminate all risk from everyday life, but where significant risks exist, sensible control measures must be identified and implemented to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.

Recording

The form in Appendix 1 can be used for recording the significant findings of a risk assessment. The focus of this document should be on the control measures rather than the process itself. The control measures identified by the assessment must then be implemented to reduce the identified risks to an acceptable level.

In many parts of our organisation, risks are being assessed on a frequent basis and recorded by different methods. The form used may not be specifically titled "risk assessment" but this does not change the fact that risk has been assessed and significant findings recorded. For example, a care plan for a service user will consider risk, as will the plan for traffic management on a highway site.

In these situations, there is no need to complete an additional assessment.

Reviewing

Risk assessments must be reviewed regularly, to ensure they remain up-to-date. An appropriate review date should therefore be recorded with the significant findings of the assessment. Risk assessments will also need to be reviewed if there are significant changes to the workplace, reports of incidents or near misses, or in response to any health and safety concerns raised by employees or clients. If following a review no changes are proposed this can be simply recorded on the document with the reviewer’s name and date of decision.

Printable version of procedure

The full procedure is available as a printable document.

Corporate health and safety procedure - Risk assessment