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The Five Steps of a Risk Assessment

Risk assessments are used to look for the possible causes of accidents and to assess how bad the results may be. A risk assessment creates awareness of risks and hazards in the workplace and forms an integral part of a health and safety management plan.

1. Identify the hazards

  • Slips and trips - e.g. floor surfaces and floor levels

  • Working at height - e.g. ladders and scaffolding

  • Fire hazards - e.g. flammable substances

  • Moving vehicles - e.g. fork lift trucks and lorries

  • Dust - e.g. wood dust and flour

  • Hot liquids - e.g. hot water and oil

2. Decide on who may be harmed or how

Once the hazards have been identified, you need to consider who may be harmed and how. Be aware that it may not be only the person conducting the task, but those nearby as well. Assess the nearby environment of tasks being conducted. Separate risk assessments should be made for vulnerable persons. This may include pregnant and young workers, as well as inexperienced staff.

3. Evaluate the risk and decide on precautions

Use the hierarchy of control to consider the consequences of injury or harm. Which tasks cause the most danger? How serious could individuals be harmed? Could any tasks lead to injury or death? Further controls should be put in place to mitigate risks so that they are reduced to an acceptable level.

4. Record your findings and implement them

Implement your identified controls and ensure that staff are trained in the new procedures. If you employ five or more people you have a legal duty to record the significant findings of your risk assessment.

5. Review and update risk assessments

Review your assessment in case things have changed and record the significant findings with your risk assessment documents. There is no legal timeframe as to when you should review and update your risk assessments, but it is recommended that it is done on an annual basis. You can find out more on the site.


HFR Solutions will enhance your organisations' safety culture by completing positive safety conversations. Our team can identify and evaluate any potential risks in your workplace and will provide a bespoke risk assessment; all of which are appropriate recommendations to mitigate risks. This will include: Fire Risk Assessments, Confined Space Risk Assessments and Working at Height Risk Assessments.

Read our Humber Tunnel Case Study which details how we provided Fire and Risk Assessments for the tunnel and contractor village, overall project Confined Space Risk Assessments, in addition to Risk Assessments and Rescue Plans for emergency provisions.

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