We see on the HSE website many prosecutions where the courts are advised there was a failing to complete a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. This becomes even more evident when the task is less than straightforward.
A recent example was the prosecution of Jaguar Land Rover where a worker died after being crushed in between two large die presses. As part of its investigation into the incident, the HSE found Jaguar Land Rover had failed in its duty to undertake a suitable risk assessment of the risks its employees were exposed to in relation to the pre-lift process prior to the lifting of dies.
In our experience it’s the “what ifs” that too often get missed by the risk assessors in a business; they tend to focus on how the process is supposed to operate and don’t think enough about what could go wrong. That’s why it’s important to have someone independent from the operations involved and to have management review the findings and be prepared to sign the assessments off.
The HSE in this case commented that a suitable risk assessment is an essential step in ensuring that the risks arising from work activities are properly controlled. This is particularly important where the work is hazardous and has the potential to result in serious harm.
Jaguar Land Rover was fined £30k and ordered to pay costs of £20k.
Rather than wait for something to happen in your business that catches you out, why not take another look at your risk assessments. Spending a bit of time now could save a bundle of financial and human costs in the long term.