What is a Risk Assessment?
The 5 Steps to Risk Assessment are an essential part of health & safety (covered by law – see HSE website) and risk management, especially applicable to the workplace. It covers potential risks that exist for staff, customers and anyone who might come into contact with risks that are identified. They are taken very seriously and are managed and (importantly) refined as work progresses and the potential risks change. As the HSE says, “The level of detail in a risk assessment should be proportionate to the risk and appropriate to the nature of the work”.
There is a process with 5 steps to risk assessment, with each stage a key part of the process.
What are the 5 Steps to Risk Assessment?
The 5 steps to risk assessment are:
- Identify the Hazards – a hazard is defined as something which has the potential to cause harm, injury or damage
- Deciding who might be harmed and how – as we said before this covers everyone who could come into contact with those hazards (staff, customers, other site visitors etc)
- Evaluate risks and decide on precautions – to do everything reasonably practicable to prevent to prevent people from being harmed from the hazards.
- Record significant findings and implement them – this is effectively putting into practice the the results and recommended precautions from the risk assessment.
- Review and update as necessary – repeating the steps above at various stages of a job. For example, just after a leak there may be a risk from ‘slips, trips and falls’ from a wet floor. After it has been resolved, that risk may reduce or be removed. But equally there could be new things arising.
The 5 steps to risk assessment are always specific to each job and are updated as needed.
Why is a Risk Assessment Important?
Hopefully the 5 steps to risk assessment shown above will highlight this but, overall, a risk assessment is important because it protects all concerned to remove or reduce the risk of harm, especially with disaster restoration situations. We take risk assessments and health & safety very seriously and our staff are trained in it too. There are some examples of the risks from water leaks on our page about ceiling water leaks and our great guide on loft tank leaks.
Things Found in a Risk Assessment?
There can be many different things in a risk assessment and it will vary according to each situation but here are a few examples of things that might be included, we will pick some that could be relevant to water leak risks:
1 – Slips, Trips & Falls – for example from wet floors, fallen debris causing uneven floors etc
2 – Risk of falling debris – for example from a ceiling or wall leak which has damaged the structure
3 – Risk of electric shock – for example from a leak coming into contact with electrical wiring
4 – Respiratory – for example from dust and debris caused by a water leak
5 – Manual handling – for example for needing to move things affected by a leak or carry equipment
6 – Working at height – for example, needing to use a ladder or platform when doing leak detection
There are many other examples but hopefully these give a good indication of the things we would be looking out for and, importantly, managing through the 5 steps to risk assessment above.
Clearly, as well as the need to identify and act on the hazards and risks, there is a role for things such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This could include things such as safety boots, safety gloves, safety helmets, respiratory masks, safety glasses / goggles, ear defenders / ear plugs etc.
What is the purpose of a risk assessment?
The purpose of a risk assessment is ultimately aimed at helping to prevent and maintain as low a risk in an environment as possible there are 5 main stages to a risk assessment – (1) Identify the potential risks, (2) decide who might be harmed and how (3) evaluating the risks and deciding precautionary measures (4) recording of findings and implement them (5) review and update the risk assessment as required.
What is a risk assessment simple definition?
A simple definition of a risk assessment is – the process of identifying hazards that have the potential to cause harm. Understanding and evaluating them and, importantly, putting steps in place to record, manage, review and reduce those risks for the safety of all involved who are potentially at risk from those hazards.