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The 5 Things You Need To Include In A Risk Assessment
Posted by David Cant on January 12, 2015
1 Comment

The 5 Things You Need To Include In A Risk Assessment

Risk AssessmentEveryone and their pet dog knows that you need to do a risk assessment before starting anything.

The next bit is the tricky part, though.

What do you actually have on a risk assessment?

To make it easy for you, here’s a round up of the five essential points you absolutely have to cover on any risk assessment – so next time, you’ll have no excuse for not getting it right!

1. Identify hazards

A good place to start with any risk assessment is figuring out what the risks are in the first place.

Sounds pretty obvious, right?

There are lots of everyday hazards all over the place. How about checking data sheets for chemicals, or manufacturers’ guidelines?

These will often point out what might be harmful with something, and are a great way to get you thinking about risk!

2. Who is at risk?

Once you know what the risks are, it’s usually easier to figure out who is at risk.

Which people are going to come into contact with those risks? Are they employees, or could other people potentially be harmed too?

What about members of the public or other businesses that might be close by?

And after you think you’ve got them all, you still might have missed someone out. So ask other people who they think might be at risk too.

As you can see, carrying out a risk assessment means asking yourself a lot of questions! But you’d better get used to it!

3. How bad – and how likely – are the risks?

Basically, this point is about evaluating the risks you’ve just identified.

That means even more questions to answer. And these ones can be pretty tough!

It’s not enough just to know what the risks are, or who could be harmed. Before you can take proper actions against them, you need to know how likely they are to happen, and how serious they could be.

If a potential risk is only likely to happen once in a blue moon there’s little point in spending valuable resources to protect yourself from it.

4. Note down everything important!

This is super important. So pay attention.

Found something important during your assessment?

Note. It. Down.

Record it. Write it. Share it.

This won’t just help you to share information about potential risks. You’ll also be able to see how risks change over a period. If the same risks keep coming up every time, this should ring some serious alarm bells!

Which brings us neatly to…

5. Review your assessment

Doing a risk assessment once in a while, when you feel like it, is not enough.

Because if a risk assessment is out of date, it’s pretty useless. In fact it could be downright dangerous, because it may make you overlook dangers that you did not know were there.

Review your assessment regularly. This could be once a year, or once a month. It depends on your workplace – but if things are constantly changing around, then you need regular reviews.

Your takeaway points

–       What are the hazards?

–       Who is at risk from them?

–       Realistically, how threatening are the risks?

–       Have you written it down?

–       Are you doing an assessment regularly?


How often do you do a risk assessment? What are the biggest risks you face? Spill the beans and let us know!


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Competent Person Service, Fire Risk Assessments, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Health and Safety, Workplace Safety

One Comment

  1. January 3, 2017 at 1:41 am

    Well written summary of critical points!
    I would add that the last sentence in point 3 could be somewhat misleading. Even if the risk is rare and unlikely to happen, if the consequence will be serious / catastrophic, you may still need to put good controls in place! So it is always the combination of both criteria – likelihood AND severity to consider.

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