This latest blog is written by Colin Nottage. Colin runs a health and safety consultancy based near Peterborough and specialises in helping businesses challenge the attitude and behaviour of the workforce to improve health, safety, production and profitability.
It doesn’t matter at what level you work in a business you should stay involved in the risk assessment process. For me risk assessment is what good health and safety is all about.
If you do nothing else in your business than get people involved and engaged in the risk assessment process then things will improve.
But what does good risk assessment look like?
Here are a few things to consider:
Who is involved? If you risk assessments are written by management in an office then you are missing a fantastic opportunity to do it better.
YOUR CHALLENGE:Talk to your management, supervisors and employees. Get them actively involved in the risk assessment process. In fact, even if you are the owner, managing director or finance director get involved. Take time to go out with the people in the business who are doing the jobs and get their input.
Ask yourself a couple of questions.
How comfortable are they with the process? When did they last get trained?
If you want to be good at anything you need to practice. As Gary Player, the South African golfer, once said. ‘The more I practice the luckier I get’.
If your teams have not had any risk assessment training in the last year then get it sorted.
Get rid of the ‘Annual Review’ mentality. I see loads of risk assessments on a site that have the same annual review date. This can indicate that people have not engaged with the risk assessment process properly and the documents are just bits of paper. Also, who could think anything more boring than spending a whole day reviewing risk assessments… Safety professionals don’t even do that….
Start to look at risk assessment as something that we do in our businesses all the time.
YOUR CHALLENGE: Split your site or business down into sections. With your team members Identify the different jobs that go on in those sections and pick out the ones that have a potential to harm someone. Now set yourself a challenge to look at those jobs over the next 12 months. Start to set aside time every week to challenge what is going on in your business. It really is the best use of your and your teams time.
My last bit for this month is a final challenge
Does your risk assessment document have a further controls column?
Why is this important you may ask… I go around lots of businesses and have seen hundreds of risk assessments. Some have quantative measures with 1-5 matricies, some use High, Medium and Low and people get wound up by what is the score or what is the grading.
I want you to get wound up by what are the further controls. If you haven’t got a column then what are you saying? Everything is OK, we have this nailed? Really.
If you have a column and its empty what are you saying? Everything is OK, we have this nailed? Really.
Well I don’t believe you!
Don’t use risk assessment to just list what controls you have in place, don’t use risk assessment to list every control that is imaginable knowing that you aren’t closely monitoring that they are in place. Don’t score risk assessment just so the risk rating remains in the green.
Complete risk assessment to really challenge what is going on in the business.
Complete risk assessments to try and find better ways of doing tasks
Complete risk assessments in the workplace with the people who do the work.
You will end up with ways to do the work that are healthy, safe, efficient and understood.
If you require any help with your risk assessment process then please drop me a line at
Tel: 07799 656303