Risk Assessments, love them or hate them 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? 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.
You find a safety consultant that seems to fit the bill, they sound like a normal person with good experience and you commission them to complete you 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 in to a folder and live up there forever more, 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 scare mongering tactic, just a few simple truths about how you need to ensure that box has been ticked, and continues to be ticked.
Quite often we, Terra Firma 360, get approached by clients to write their risk assessments; and whilst we’re always happy to provide this service, but whether you use us or another service, there are a few things that everyone should know that we would like to share and may help you and your business in the future.
- Find out if you are getting risk assessments specific to your business or your are being provided generic documents. If they are generic, it means that you will have to edit them to suit your business, if they’re specific 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, that there should be no details of another company (unless made up,) afterall how would you feel if your information was shared and it can be subject to data protection.
- Find out what follow up support they offer, you might have questions and need to sense check some of the findings.
- Help your consultant to help you. Invite them to site and be prepared with all of your documentation and be able to provide them access to all areas that need to be risk assessed.
- Get your work force involved and have them accompany the consultant, so that they can talk about the different aspects of the tasks in their area and the current safety procedures.
- 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 client.
- Find out how to update the risk assessments as you complete the actions, or can the consultancy provide 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 does happen on site or can they review your progress on a regular basis?
- 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?
A risk assessment is a live document, in other words it will always change with your business and what is happening. It is important to get it right and make sure that your investment has ticked the compliance box, and that your risk assessment work for you.
You can make it a paperwork exercise, or Risk Assessment can be a robust way of managing the real risks in your workplace, can increase your business reputation and get your workforce engaged.