Health and Safety Consultancy Services for SMEs in Birmingham, West Midlands and beyond

Risk Assessments are not a bureaucratic burden.
Posted by David Cant on September 10, 2009

Although under various pieces of UK legislation it is a legal requirement for organisations to record and document the significant findings of risk assessments if they employ five or more people, it makes good commercial sense to record them so that a check can be made that all of the organisation’s activities have been assessed.

Risk Assessments

It is not unknown, for example, for gaps in risk assessments to be discovered during the implementation of say behavioural safety initiatives, i.e. assessments have been made of engineering tasks in workshops, but not for engineering tasks on a plant.

However, discovery of these gaps can only be achieved if the records are kept. Again, for expediency, it is not unusual for daily permit to work procedures to be used as the only proof of compliance to the risk assessment requirements.

Although the incorporation of on-the-spot risk assessments in permit to work procedures is laudable, these records tend to be discarded after about three months, resulting in the data being lost. Moreover, it is very difficult for such companies to know whether or not they have conducted risk Assessments for all their activities.

This often occurs in those companies which view the requirement for risk assessments as a bureaucratic burden. However, the advantages of keeping such records outweigh the perceived bureaucracy, as they can be used in many ways. For example, they can be used to:

  • demonstrate to employees, board members, shareholders and statutory bodies (e.g. HSE) that the organisation is actually identifying, assessing and controlling risks
  • identify or reinforce the need for capital expenditure to be allocated to control the risks
  • reduce management’s time during periodic reviews of risks
  • identify safety training needs
  • identify potential unsafe behaviours during the implementation of behavioural safety initiatives.


So what should be documented in a Risk Assessment?


A record of a risk assessment must include details of the measures chosen to eliminate or control the risks, and the reasons for choosing them. The record is focused primarily on the activities taking place, while taking into account any particular situational constraints, the risks posed and the solutions adopted to overcome them.


Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME's favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick.

You can find him across Social media - Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Health and Safety Law

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


(Spamcheck Enabled)

Latest Blog Posts
Could biometric technology help improve construction health and safety Could biometric technology help improve construction health and safety Although it has existed for years, biometrics technology has been restricted to projects requiring the... Read More
5 ways health and safety will make you rich 5 ways health and safety will make you rich There are many excuses given by businesses being prosecuted for health and safety failings, but... Read More
Improvement in Construction Safety is Vital Improvement in Construction Safety is Vital According to a recent study, more than half of UK workers lack the basic knowledge to keep themselves... Read More
Follow all of the latest Veritas Consulting news on our RSS feed