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To introduce this module, ask delegates what risks they’ve taken today.
Ask delegates to call out their answers. If no one responds, ask them a specific question –
for example, ‘did any of you drive into work today?’ or ‘did you make a hot drink this
Risk is part of everyone’s life – we can’t avoid risks but we can put things in place to manag
e them effectively.
Scenario 1:
Learning to drive involves a degree of risk. Because they were learning, they’d have had a
qualified instructor sitting next to them, so the risk would have been well managed.
Explain to delegates that the cyclist is a hazard. If the driving instructor hadn’t been there,
the cyclist might have been knocked off his bike. So the risk has been well managed.
Scenario 2:
Imagine that they own a warehouse distribution company.
The warehouse is an old building and the roof is in need of some repair. The delegates
are concerned about poor weather, since this could damage the building and its contents. In
these circumstances, rain would certainly be a threat to the building and its contents. A few
moments of rain, sleet or snow wouldn’t make any difference, but a long downpour would
be much more of a problem. So the question they have to ask is: how likely is it to rain?
If they decided to do nothing about the roof, and one night it did rain, the extent of the
damage would depend on the contents of the warehouse and their value.
The contents could be plastic garden furniture designed to be outside in all weathers,
which can be easily dried off. In this case there’d be little damage.
If the contents were television sets, they’d be completely ruined by the rain. Stock would
have to be written off at a large cost to their company.
If the contents were television sets, they’d be completely ruined by the rain. Stock would
have to be written off at a large cost to their company.
On top of that, they might conclude that the chance of a downpour happening at all is
much higher in the winter than in the summer. So, if they were trying to decide whether to fix
the roof or leave it in its current condition, they’d probably ask themselves two questions:
what are the chances it’ll rain, and what could get damaged if it did?
Hazard: a hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm. This could
be something as specialized as a piece of complicated machinery, or as

The likelihood of this hazardous event depends on how many people are walking in the area. Risk: risk is the combination of the likelihood of a hazardous event occurring and the consequence of the event. Alternatively. then it’s a hazard. Hazardous Event: hazardous event takes place when someone or something interacts with a hazard. The likelihood of tripping will depend on the unevenness of the surface. Risk assessing Scenario 1: Wet floor . the condition of the worker’s footwear. The consequence of slipping may be nothing other than damaged pride. but we might consider the probable consequence to be an injury that would need medical attention. Examples: A trailing cable is a hazard and tripping over the cable is a hazardous event Electricity is a hazard and a person coming into contact with a live electrical conductor is a hazardous event. Likelihood: Likelihood is a measure of the chance that the hazardous event will occur. The wet floor is close to a main walkway and it seems to be nearly one o’clock – a time when people will be going to lunch. The hazardous event is slipping on the wet floor. Serious injury 2. The consequence. with damage to the box and its contents only. Risk assessing scenario 3: Latex Gloves . Remember: Every hazardous event has a likelihood and consequence. No injury. Remember: there’s a hole in the ground. may range from nothing to a serious injury.What’s the consequence? Answer: Explain to delegates that the hazard is the Wet floor. Risk assessing scenario 2: Running worker Answer: Explain to delegates that the hazard is rushing around. If it could be harmful in any way. The hole (the hazard) by itself isn’t causing any harm. how he’s moving and how tired he is. but if someone tripped over it (the hazardous event).What’s the likelihood? . the likelihood of the hazardous event occurring is lower. Consequences: Consequence is the outcome of the hazardous event. The hazardous event is stumbling. as in the previous example.commonplace as a cup of coffee. and harm results. So we might consider that it’s likely that someone will slip. it’d become harmful.what’s the hazardous event? . Result of hazardous event: 1.What’s the hazard? . if we assume that it’s the middle of the night and that there are fewer people around.

Or A risk assessment is a careful examination of anything in the delegates’ workplace that could cause people to suffer injury or ill health while they’re at work. •Carrying out risk assessments helps them to tell whether they’re doing enough to protect their workforce and others from harm. erratic behaviour and visual problems and ultimately death. giddiness. breathlessness. drowsiness. In Module 3. for those who are allergic. they could face prosecution and fines. vomiting. nausea. Are they. Assessing risks allows delegates to prioritize the action they take to control them. In this module we discuss how to assess risk. there’ll be no adverse consequences. we’ll look at ways of controlling risk. For people who aren’t allergic. Understanding the risks that face their business will help them to manage it better. If they don’t. Benefits of carrying out risk assessment: Explain to delegates that carrying out risk assessments helps them to meet their legal requirements. The consequences of handling latex gloves will vary. the consequence could be fatal. The hazardous event is human exposure to carbon monoxide. However. for example. The likelihood is dependent on whether the worker has a latex allergy. Risk assessing scenario 4: CO Boiler Answer: Explain to delegates that the hazard is incomplete combustion (leading to carbon monoxide emission). Carrying out risk assessments helps them to demonstrate good business practice and improve business performance. The consequences may include tiredness. The likelihood of carbon monoxide exposure will depend on how well the boiler is working and particularly on how well the combustion process is working. headaches. with: • potential cost savings • reduced insurance premiums • enhanced reputation. stomach pains. and pains in the chest.Answer: Explain to delegates that the hazard is latex gloves. The hazardous event is an allergic reaction to latex. providing enough: • training • information • personal protective equipment • health surveillance Legal Requirement: . Risk assessment: Risk assessment is a means of making sure that the most serious workplace risks are managed by cost-effective control measures. All employers and self-employed people have a legal obligation to carry out risk assessments.

The judgment recognized the failure of the employer to carry out a manual handling risk assessment. there are many other benefits to be gained. customers. machinery guarding. members of the public) • identifying specific hazards that need specialist advice • evaluating the effectiveness of current control measures (such as supervision. If you employ five people or more. The work aggravated her injuries and resulted in surgery and retirement on grounds of ill health. Case studies Case study 1 A nurse. you need to record the assessments in writing. it's a good idea to write them down anyway so that you have a written record.The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require that all employers and self-employed people do risk assessments on the health and safety hazards in their workplaces. She claimed compensation from her employers and was awarded £16. . contractors. How risk assessment protecting the workforce and others from harm? Risk assessment allows valuable information to be gathered to help with: • changing unsafe working practices • assessing current and future training needs • identifying groups at risk (members of staff. too. That said. She wasn’t sent to the occupational health department to assess her fitness. While undertaking risk assessments helps employers to meet their legal obligations.000. who had a long history of back complaints. visitors. was required to do work involving heavy manual handling of patients. personal protective equipment).

Case study 2 A kitchen designer and manufacturer felt that he wasn’t realizing the full potential of the workforce – he wanted to get them more involved in all aspects of the business. we’re more aware of potential hazards… in 16 months we haven’t had a single injury. who expect to see proof that their suppliers are taking health and safety seriously. Key stages of risk assessment: The key stages in the risk assessment process are: 1. That’s why it’s essential that they make a list of everything they manage. The company is now aiming for quality management certification and also targeting bigger customers. including risks! The business owner commented: ‘Since we’ve been talking about risk. List work tasks – what do workers do and where do they do it? 2. Risk Assessment: First stage of carrying out a risk assessment is to make a list of the work tasks that are their responsibility. Review your findings – when do you need to revisit your assessment? 1: Identify work tasks where are the tasks taking place? (location) who’s doing them? (people) what are they doing them with? (equipment) what are they doing? (activities) . Estimate the risks – what’s the likelihood the hazardous event will happen and what might the consequences be? 4. As a result. Remember: Accidents and ill health can have a devastating effect – they can ruin lives and businesses.’ Case study 3 A company providing services to the travel industry assessed the risks of its shrinkwrapping facilities. Anything in their workplace that they manage – the activities that take place. it’s possible that a hazard could be overlooked and therefore not included in the risk assessment. the people involved in those activities. get staff involved with risk assessment and develop better business processes. who might be harmed and how? 3. the equipment they use and the different locations they work in – can be a hazard in some circumstances. Identify the risks – what are the hazards. If they don’t do this. Advise: The best way to do this is to walk around the workplace and see for themselves what’s going on. Weekly meetings now cover everything. it was able to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries to employees. Evaluate the risks – what action do you need to take to deal with the risk? 5. Record your findings – what do you need to note? 6.

Factors affecting consequence When we’re assessing consequence.2: Identifying the risks This step in the risk assessment process is best carried out using multiple sources of information: • observe the physical layout at each location and the activities being carried out • speak to workers and their representatives (as appropriate) to find out if they consider anything in the workplace to be a hazard • inspect relevant records. such as productivity bonuses • the competence of the workers • whether current risk controls are adequate • environmental conditions. the hazards identified in these workplace tours may not need a formal risk assessment. Hazard checklists are a useful way to record the hazards identified and can be used when taking regular tours or walks around the workplace. we need to consider any factors that may influence the seriousness of a hazardous event. for given weather conditions. For example. how often they do it and for how long • any work pressures. For example. a trip hazard from a trailing cable can be remedied immediately by taping over the cable and in the longer term by rerouting the cable. in the case of the window cleaner falling from the ladder. in the case of the window cleaner falling from the ladder. for example accident records. More generally. including: • the stability of the ladder • the condition of the rungs • the type of footwear • the lighting levels. we need to consider any factors that may influence the chance that the hazardous event may occur. Taking advantage of all the options to identify hazards gives a more complete picture. we need to consider a number of factors. factors that can be useful in estimating likelihood are: • the number of people doing the task. In many cases. . However. we need to consider: • the height of the fall • whether there’s anything to help stop the fall • what the person falls onto. For example. such as the weather. 3: Estimate the risk This involves the estimation of the  Likelihood  Consequence Factors affecting likelihood When we’re assessing likelihood. there’s a possibility that a hazard may not be present at the time of the tour. if you use only a walk-through tour to identify hazards. manufacturer’s instructions or data sheets • read up on the hazards relevant to the activities taking place.

people have been known to fall more than 6 metres and land on their feet. What matters is that the information they record about the activity – for example. 4: Evaluate the risks Risk rating Action 1-2 Acceptable – no further action but ensure controls are maintained 3-4 Tolerable – look to improve 6-9 Unacceptable – take immediate action Designed 5 matrix by delegate The consequences could be ranked as: Insignificant – no injury Minor – minor injuries Moderate – up to three days’ absence Major – more than three days’ absence Catastrophic – death. together with the risk level • Existing control measures and how well they work • The date for review of the assessment. the likelihood and consequence of the hazard. suffering only slight injury. especially if people land on their heads. it’s helpful to record: • Details of the person carrying out the risk assessment • The date and time of the assessment • Details of the location. • It doesn’t matter what form they use to record their findings – it could be a risk assessment form similar to the one on page 40 of their workbooks. information sources that are helpful in deciding consequences include: • potential for harm (toxicity data. 6: Review your findings . Risk rating 1-4 5-9 10-16 17-25 Action Acceptable – no further action but ensure controls are maintained Adequate – but look to improve at review Tolerable – but look to improve within specified timescale Unacceptable – stop activity and make immediate improvements 5: Recording your findings Now they’ve completed the risk assessment. remember the comments made about considering consequence as a distribution of probable outcomes. conversely. or one of their own. the hazard. Low falls can lead to very serious injuries. • In general. either electronically or as a paper copy. More generally. and the risk level – is all there. dimensions) • potential magnitude of the harm • history of the harm • potential population at risk. equipment and activity they’re assessing • The hazards they’ve identified. they’ll need to record their significant findings.However. This is not only good practice but it’s also a legal requirement if they employ five or more people.

regular reviewing is still necessary in order to ensure that the risk rating stays low. Work activity/equipment/location Hazard . Where risk ratings are low. especially if changes occur or new information comes to light.It’s good practice to review assessments annually or sooner. Some examples are: • after new legislation • after an accident • after new equipment or procedures are introduced.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Passing a pen to a colleague Electrically powered equipment Carrying a heavy computer Working under pressure Working at a workstation Computer screen position Carrying drinks Storing bags Accessing files Reading while walking Handling broken toner cartridge Boxes holding open fire door Throwing the pen across the office Overloaded sockets – electric shock. power failure or fire Musculoskeletal problems Anxiety and stress Musculoskeletal problems Glare from the sun Slip and trip Slip and trip Standing on chair Slip and trip Hazardous substance Fire .

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Work activity/equipment/location Working without gloves Manager shouting at employee about the time Using forklift while smoking Boxes stacked high on a pallet Stacking boxes Working without a hat Eating and drinking Leaking machine Working under pressure Leaning over machine Potatoes on the floor Walking across a non-pedestrian area Carrying boxes Visitors not wearing PPE Hazard Food contamination Bullying Fire Forklift driver can’t see where he’s going Twisting while stacking boxes Food contamination Food contamination Slip and trip Anxiety and Stress Poor posture Slip and trip Transport Size and shape of load Food contamination .


Work activity/equipment/location Hazard .

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Working on scaffold Pallet of bricks Working with no hard hat Carrying bricks Using a mitre saw Lifting gravel with shovel Manual handling – twisting while digging Looking at site plans Using pneumatic drill Working near heavy vehicles Trailing cable Pedestrians walking by Metal plate under scaffold Open hole Scaffolding Falling from height Bricks falling Being hit by a falling brick Straining Flying debris/trailing cable Damaged hands Musculoskeletal problems Falling down nearby hole Noise and vibration exposure Being run over Trip and slip Exposure to work activities Trip and slip/scaffold stability Someone could fall down it It could collapse and injure someone .