How to Assess Risks at Work

As an employer you are required by law to ensure that your employees are safe within the workplace, along with anyone else who enters it.

There are multiple risks in the workplace that could affect your staff and the way that they work. To minimise the amount if risks, you first need to identify them and assess how they can impact your business and the way that things are done.

Identify potential hazards

By identifying the potential hazards in your workplace, you will minimise the chances of them becoming a problem. As an employer, you must systematically check for all possible mental, physical, chemical and biological hazards that could cause you or your staff harm.

  • Physical hazards are things like chairs that do not offer correct lumbar support, lifting heavy items, operating machinery, slips and falls, noise, dust and debris, computer equipment and wiring, and so on.
  • Mental hazards would be things like excess workloads, long working periods without breaks, bullying, and working with high-need, demanding clients. This can affect the mental health of your staff along with their work relationships and the ways that they work.
  • Chemical hazards are anything chemical related such as cleaning fluids, aerosols, asbestos etc.
  • Biological hazards are things that can come from the body, such as blood, faeces, urine, saliva and others that could carry infectious disease. These types of hazards mainly effect healthcare workers such as hospital staff and those who work in care.

Start by breaking your business and workplace down into sections and identifying what is used, where, and who by. Both full-time and part-time employees can be exposed to risks so it’s important that everyone carry out a risk assessment.

Depending on the nature of your business, for example a factory that uses dangerous machinery and produces heavy goods, visitors should also be asked to carry out a risk assessment prior to entering.

Note down your findings

Write down every potential hazard you can spot, no matter how small or silly it may sound. By having a record of your findings, you will be able to prioritise the risks in order of danger and importance and be able to get them rectified quickly.

Be transparent with your staff throughout the process and make them aware of any risks they should know about. This will allow your staff to avoid injury whilst the risks are rectified.

Solve the risks

Once you have identified the hazards and potential risks, it’s time to solve them.

Provide your staff with the right office supplies to do their jobs correctly and not hurt themselves in the process, such as chairs with correct lumbar support and standing desks for those who cannot sit well due to medical reasons.

Make sure that your staff has the right protective clothing whilst doing their job. For example, when working in a factory or building site if you are faced with the risk of noise pollution and dust and debris which can often make vision more difficult, your staff will need high visibility clothing so that they can easily be spotted by others on the site. You’ll also want to provide your staff with protective eyewear and other items of PPE.

Training can also offset a lot of risks. Providing staff with comprehensive, thorough training sessions on a regular basis will teach them how to use equipment correctly and safely along with keeping them up to date with any data-related security knowledge that they should have.

Sometimes accidents are inevitable and can happen from time to time. It’s important to make sure that you have a trained first-aider on site along with the correct, sterile first aid kit supplies.

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