We have recently been talking with a client who are struggling to understand how best to approach risk assessments. The current approach has been to pass the task over to line management and tell them to get on with it. One major problem here is that management have not been trained in risk assessment or health & safety legislation and are not surprisingly struggling.
We fully support that those that do the work often understand what’s involved better than anyone else. The problem is they can be too familiar and therefore not be able to identify the risks fully. Also clearly what they won’t know is what does the legislation requires?
For too many businesses risk assessment is seen as a chore; something they know has to be done but they don’t want to allocate sufficient resources to it. It then becomes a paperwork exercise to show that risk assessment is being done; rather than done properly. The problem here is in the event of an HSE investigation this will quickly become obvious. Then the business could be charged with not having Suitable & Sufficient risk assessments; which it wouldn’t be able to defend in court.
A key factor that really needs to be understood is that risk assessment done properly is a means to improve business performance on many levels. Not least because well-defined risks; can often easily be reduced through the implementation of simple controls.