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What makes a good risk assessment?

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Risk Assessments – love them or hate them

This article is about how you can get the best risk assessments from your consultant.  Quite frequently our consultants audit businesses and find that there risk assessments are not quite as thorough as they should be and leaves the client vulnerable to accidents and lack of defence in the face of a claim or criminal action. Risk Assessments are one of the core principals of successful Health and Safety Management if you don’t know what the risks are in your business, how on earth are you going to manage them?

How to find a Safety Consultant

But hang on a minute, where do you start? You’re busy, you’ve never carried out a risk assessment before and what if you miss something?  So you jump on the HSE website and start searching the best place to find safety consultants- OHSCR register of consultants and start contacting them and making enquiries.  For example, you can check mine out here 

Tick box exercise?

You find a safety consultant that seems to fit the bill, they sound like a normal person with excellent experience, and you commission them to complete your risk assessments for you.  The following day you get a suite of professional-looking documents, and you’re over the moon, the box is ticked, and you don’t have to worry about risk assessments any more.

The new risk assessments go into a folder and live up there forever, gathering dust and causing your shelves to sag; but it’s ok they’re done, the box is ticked…………. or is it?

You think you’ve ticked the box, when in fact you haven’t- this isn’t a scaremongering tactic, just a few simple truths about how you need to ensure that box has been ticked and continues to be ticked.

How you should manage risk assessments.

What makes a suitable risk assessment, and what do we mean by good?

  • Find out if you are getting risk assessments specific to your business, or are you being given generic documents? Generic means that you will have to edit them to suit your business; if they’re not generic, you will have to dedicate some time to working with your chosen safety consultant.
  • Start by checking out the consultant’s competencies, ask for samples of previous risk assessments they have conducted. Speak about some issues that are bespoke to your industry and see if they know about that topic. Note, the consultant shouldn’t give details of another company (unless made up,) after all, how would you feel if your information was shared?
  • Find out what follow up support they offer, you might have questions about the actions that come out of the assessments.
  • Help your consultant to help you.
    • Invite the consultant to site and be prepared with all of your documentation.
    • Be able to provide them access to all areas that need to be risk assessed.
    • Let them speak with your team so that they can find out about tasks and the real story.
  • Ask for a risk assessment action plan to help you manage the risks in a reasonably practicable manner identified by the consultant.
  • Read the risk assessments and check you agree with the findings and discuss with your consultant.
  • Find out how to update the risk assessments as you complete the actions, or if the consultancy provides this service.
  • Find out about on-going support services that the consultant can offer, such as Competent Person Which provides telephone and email support and a variety of other services. Can the Health and Safety consultant support you is a workplace accident do happen on-site or can they review your progress regularly?
  • Can they offer ideas for solutions, based on their experience, about managing the risks for mobile worker’s safety?
  • Later on down the line, get some of your team trained to carry out safety duties, including risk assessment. The more eyes and ears you have, the better.
  • Keep in mind that a risk assessment is a legal document and can be requested as legal evidence in a civil (personal claims) or a criminal court. Could you honestly defend the contents of your risk assessment?
Make Risk Assessments work for your business

A risk assessment is a live document; in other words, it will always change with your company and what is happening. It is essential to get it right and make sure that your investment has ticked the compliance box, and that your risk assessment works for you.

You can make it a paperwork exercise, or Risk Assessment can be a great way of managing the real risks in your workplace, can increase your business reputation and get your workforce engaged.

Check out our risk assessment service.
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