Accidents in the Workplace – Risk Assessments

A claim after an accident in the workplace can be expensive. If you can prove that you have attempted to comply with Health and Safety Law and carried out a risk assessment for your premises, you business reputation will not be impaired.

It is necessary to continually assess risks – you may have brought in hazardous materials or equipment, started new procedures or bought or hired new equipment. Circumstances change, and you and your staff need to be aware.

You have a duty to your staff and visitors to make sure your workplace is safe. You need firstly to assess the potential hazards to either your staff, workers under contract not permanently on site, disabled workers or members of the public.

If you access the Health and Safety Executive website, they offer a checklist for risk assessments that anyone can download, and the first thing to do with this checklist is to physically walk around your site to identify potential hazards. You then need to see if the risk can be removed or contained to prevent any possible accidents. Under Health and Safety law you have to do everything ‘reasonably practical’ to prevent accidents.

Once you have decided on a risk or hazard, you need to record it, decide who the people at risk might be, and document how you have dealt with it so it has become a low risk hazard. You also need to tell the staff involved – this will help your case in the matter of a claim. Make sure all staff are trained as necessary, and keep records of the training. Checking accident records may identify more hazards you may not have been aware of.

Lastly, it is a good idea to involve staff at all levels – they are the ones on the everyday ‘shop floor’, and will see your practices and premises from a different angle.