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Risk Assessment

As an employer, you're required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum you must do is:

  • identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn't possible, control the risk

Assessing risk is just one part of the overall process used to control risks in your workplace

 

 

National Services Scotland

What is a Health & Safety Risk Assessment?

  • A risk assessment is a systematic method of looking at work activities, considering what could go wrong, and deciding on suitable control measures. These control measures are designed to eliminate, reduce or minimize the risks of loss, damage or injury in the workplace. It is a legal requirement for all organisations to carry out a risk assessment.
  • If you have five or more employees, you must also keep a written record of it.
    • RA - I want to become a NSS Nominated Risk Assessor – what training do I need?National Services Scotland

      Risk Assessor Training

      Aim

      This course is aimed at providing all NSS nominated Risk Assessors with a basic understanding of the principles of Health and Safety Risk Assessment Management.

      This course has been tailored to provide individuals with appropriate training in line with legislation and has been specifically designed to reflect the NSS business operations.

      Objectives

      This Course will provide an introduction to legislation, key health and safety systems and best practice. By the end of this session delegates will be able to:

      • understand the legal requirements for risk assessment
      • use techniques for hazard identification and analysis
      • identify the factors involved in risk assessments
      • understand and select the best principles of risk control
      • carry out a practical risk assessment.

      Content

      • The risk assessment process in relation to health and safety legislation.
      • The principles of risk assessment.
      • Practical examples and case studies which will enable attendees to identify hazards and risks and determine appropriate control measures to remove these hazards and reduce risks.
      • NSS specific Risk Assessment procedures and training.

      Duration:  One day

      Audience: This course is aimed at managers, Health and Safety Representatives or anyone who is involved in carrying out health and safety risk assessments.

      Delivery method: Face to face

      Dates and how to enrol can be found on the NSS Learning and Development pages

       

    • RA - Risk Assessment LegislationNational Services Scotland

      Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974,

      Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Part 1, Section 2(2)c requires employers to provide:

      • Information
      • Instruction
      • Training
      • Supervision

      Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999,

      Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Regulation 13(2) and (3) requires employers to provide health and safety training:

      • On recruitment
      • When risk changes
      • To be repeated periodically as appropriate
      • To take place during working hours

      Employers are required to provide information, training and instruction for employees who work with substances hazardous to health. This includes cleaning and maintenance staff.

      Employees are required to understand the outcome of your risk assessment and what this means for them, this should include:

      • what the hazards and risks are;
      • guidance and information concerning any risk assessment outcome / actions;
      • the results of any monitoring;
      • the general results of health surveillance;
      • what to do if there is an accident or emergency;
      • access to any additional supporting information;
      • information about any planned future changes e.g. in processes, equipment or working environments etc

      Contractors are required to be provided the following information when they come on site:

      • what the risks are and
      • how the organisation controls them;
      • provide information, safety data sheets and risk assessments for any hazardous substances that they will be brining on to and using on the organisations premises, and how they will prevent harm to your employees.

       Further details and requirements of these legal requirements can be found within NSS Policies.

      • NSS Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy
      • NSS Risk Assessment Procedure
      • NSS Control of Contractors Policy
    • RA - What are common hazards?National Services Scotland

      Some common hazards that could be found in your organisation include

      • adverse weather
      • biological agents
      • electricity
      • lone working
      • machinery
      • slips, trips and falls
      • stress
      • vehicles and workplace transport
      • violence and aggression
      • working at height
      • working in confined spaces.
    • RA - What are specialist risk assessments?National Services Scotland

      Specific risk assessments

      The risk assessment process should be used to identify hazards in your work activity and to evaluate the control measures that you have in place to manage these risks.

      The aim is to ensure that your activities are carried out without risks to the health and safety of your employees and others. There may identify some risks that require NSS to take a slightly different approach when evaluating the risk they pose to health and safety.

      These risks need a different approach because of their complexity or specific legal requirements. For example, if you identify noise as a hazard during a risk assessment, then you should read the specific guidance about noise and carry out a noise risk assessment.

      Guidance and resources to help Line Managers and Risk Assessors with specific risk assessments include

      • fire
      • noise
      • vibration
      • manual handling
      • hazardous substances
      • display screen equipment.
    • RA - Where do I find my Business Unit risk assessments?National Services Scotland

      All Business Units have developed a Business Unit Risk Profile document, this is held by your Business Unit Director and Health and Safety Committee Chair.

      Within this document will identify all the risks and control measures that have been identified within your Business area and the tasks / roles that employees undertake on behalf of NSS

    • RA - What is the role of the NSS Nominated Risk Assessor?National Services Scotland

      NSS Risk Assessment Nominated Personnel Role Specifications

      There is a requirement to ensure that those advising and educating others in Risk Assessment practice have the appropriate skills and knowledge and adequate time to perform their duties, protected time to provide training and adequate recognition and support.

      NSS have created and implemented the role specifications to help support, NSS Nominated Risk Assessment personnel and management.

      EXPERIENCE, QUALIFICATIONS & TRAINING

      Delegates must have completed the NSS Risk Assessment Course

      Course Aim

      This course is aimed at providing all NSS nominated Risk Assessors with a basic understanding of the principles of Health and Safety Risk Assessment Management. These courses have been tailored to provide delegates with appropriate training in line with legislation and have been specifically designed to reflect the NSS business operations.

      Content Part 1 - Interactive eLearning

      This eLearning module will support the delegate to identify that risk assessments don’t need to be daunting and time consuming tasks, and why risk assessment are required in the workplace.

      At the end of the course delegates will be able to:

      • Understand the importance of a risk assessment
      • Identify what a hazard is, and how to remove and reduce the risk of a hazard
      • Understand how to identify a risk
      • Identify the hazards, understand who’s at risk and evaluate that risk
      • Understand the importance of monitoring and reviewing the risk

      Course Content Part 2 – Practical application training

      This practical face to face training is delivered corporately and should be achieved within three months of completing the eLearning interactive module. This half day session focuses on:

      • A number of practical examples and case studies which will enable attendees to apply the principles of risk assessment in their particular workplace/area to identify hazards and risks and determine appropriate control measures to remove these hazards and reduce risks;
      • Specific training on the organisation’s Risk Assessment Procedure.

       Training will be provided to ensure that employees are confident to perform their duties safely. Where there are higher risk activities, regular monitoring of activities is required

      PERSONAL QUALITIES

      • Good Organisational and communication skills.
      • An influencer and relationship builder

      ROLE & RESPONSIBILITIES

      • Support less experienced Risk Assessors when required
      • To advise/seek specialist advice where required.
      • Facilitate staff to adapt their own work practices, enabling them to undertake the risk assessment tasks required in their area of work.
      • Adhere and promote NSS policies, procedures and support NSS in meeting their requirements.
      • Obtain Line Manager approval to support and carry out risk assessments across your local site/division as and when required.
      • Have an understanding of relevant risk assessment and health and safety legislation, in order to facilitate safe systems of work and reduce the risk of injury.
      • Undertake complex general risk assessments and provide advice and guidance to managers and individuals of appropriate risk reduction measures.
      • Appreciate the wider practical and commercial issues which must be taken into account when making recommendations to reduce risk.
      • Liaise with the HWL Team for support and advice when required.

       Further information and guidance can be found within the:

      • NSS Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy,
      • NSS COSHH Procedure

       

       

    • RA - How do I record and review a risk assessment?National Services Scotland

      Once you have evaluated the risks and decided on precautions you should

      • record your key findings on a template
      • prioritise your actions
      • set deadlines to achieve them by
      • share this information with employees.

      Risk assessments will be among the first pieces of evidence requested by the enforcement authority in the event of investigation following and adverse event such as an accident or breach. NSS within the Document Storage Document states that NSS will keep all risk assessments for at least 3 years. Any records relating to health should be kept for at least 40 years.​

       

      ​​Review risk assessment regularly

      ​Line Managers and Risk Assessors must regularly review the risk assessments to make sure that they are still valid. It is recommended that they are reviewed at least once a year. You should also review them if changes to the following take place:

      • equipment,
      • materials,
      • people,
      • premises,
      • processes.

      It is important to review the risk assessment after an accident or near miss, this can help prevent them happening again.​

    • RA - How do I identify who can be harmed?National Services Scotland

      Once Line Managers / Risk Assessors have identified potential hazards, then need to establish who might be harmed and how.

      You don't need to list everyone by name. Identifying groups of people is enough, such as

      • employees
      • customers
      • visitors
      • contractors
      • any other person that could be affected by your activities.

      Remember that special consideration should be given to people who could be vulnerable, and for this reason more at risk of injury or ill health. This includes

      • new and expectant mothers
      • agency and temporary workers
      • new workers and young people
      • migrant workers
      • lone workers
      • people with disabilities and long term health conditions.​​
    • RA - How do I evaluate and decide on the precautions of risk in a task?National Services Scotland

      Evaluate and decide on precautions in risk assessment

      When looking at each hazard you should assess

      • the likelihood of it occurring
      • how severe its consequences might be.

      This will allow you to prioritise your actions and ensure that your resources are being used where they are most needed.

      When considering precautions Line Managers / Risk assessors  should do so in the following order, without jumping to the easiest solution. Personal protective equipment should be your last choice and priority should be given to measures that will protect more than just one person.

      1. Elimination - for example, redesign the job to eliminate the need of manual handling or working at height.
      2. Substitution - such as changing a hazardous substances for a less hazardous one.
      3. Engineering controls – you could use guarding on equipment or machinery to separate the employee from the hazard.
      4. Administrative controls – such as rotating your employees around tasks to reduce the time they work in that environment.
      5. Personal protective equipment - if all the above methods are ineffective then you should consider the use of personal protective equipment.

       Line Managers should consult with their employees to see if they can suggest any control measures you may not have considered. It is also a good idea to check with them that any the risk assessment are suggesting will not introduce new hazards.

    • RA - How do I carry out a risk assessment?National Services Scotland

      The first thing to do when carrying out a risk assessment is identify potential hazards in your workplace. Think of what could go wrong and how people could get hurt or made ill.

      Line Managers and Risk Assessors should

      • speak to employees - they may be aware of hazards that aren't so obvious to you
      • observe the tasks carried out by your employees
      • check your accident, near miss and ill-health records
      • read instructions for tools and equipment - they will inform you of hazards
      • check the information contained within safety data sheets for hazardous substances
      • consider other situations - such as problems with equipment, machinery, maintenance or cleaning.