The importance of risk assessment cannot be stressed enough; if done properly they can prevent potential risks causing harm and help keep a business protected. However this only works if they are completed by persons who understand the risks and if they avoid justifying the way things have always been done!
It’s not just the smaller businesses that find to their cost that risk assessments have not been done after something goes wrong; as shown by a recent prosecution of Royal Mail.
Royal Mail has been found guilty of failing to carry out risk assessments following an incident where an employee suffered severe chemical burns to his leg whilst undertaking a cleaning task. The court heard that some cleaning fluid had leaked causing a concentrated cleaning chemical to spill on the man’s leg. He had to have immediate hospital treatment, skin grafts and eight months off of work.
Following an investigation it was found that Royal Mail had failed to carry out risk assessments or COSHH assessments. Royal Mail pleaded guilty to two offences and received the maximum fine allowed in Magistrates Court of £40,000 (£20,000 per offence) and costs of £4,000.
Had the Royal Mail completed risk assessments they may have avoided this incident or at the very least would have been able to provide evidence the risk assessment process had been undertaken. In today’s legislative environment it really is “All about the risk assessment”.