The Effective Risk Assessment Guide
Despite the stringent health and safety legislation we have here in the UK, falls from height remain one of the most common causes of death and serious injury in the workplace. Working in the construction industry will often entail work at height of some sort or another and this is especially so when it comes to working on roofs. While it may seem a safer option to work on a flat roof, there are still so many dangers involved as roofing material often becomes weaker over time, leading to fragile surfaces that present an extra danger. Here at D-mark we specialise in rooftop safety solutions for flat roofs and we like to make sure that our readers have all the knowledge and information they need to ensure that working on roofs is kept as safe as possible so today we’re taking a look at risk assessment.
Carrying out a comprehensive risk assessment is vitally important in order to ensure that the appropriate type of safety equipment is chosen and that the work is carried out properly and in a safe manner.
A risk assessment does not need to be complex with reams of paperwork – it just needs to identify realistic methods of control to make sure that the working environment is safe. Here are five simple steps that can be used which will help when carrying out an effective risk assessment.
Identify Hazards – Think carefully about what could potential cause harm and speak to your employees about what they would consider as potentially causing harm. Check your log of accidents and ill health as these may also help in identifying less obvious hazards.
Who Could be Harmed and How? – Once you’ve identified the hazards, think about the type of person who could be harmed. For example contractors, sub-contractors, members of the public, apprentices, etc. Then think about the ways in which they may be harmed – for example lifting heavy weights, tools falling, falls from a roof or ladder, etc.
Evaluate Any Risks and Take Precautions – Once you’ve identified the potential hazards and who may be at risk, consider the control measures you already have in place and see if there is anything more that could be done. For example, can you prevent access to a hazard by installing a safety barrier or can you make an area of a fragile roof safer by installing a walkway surface.
Record your Findings and Implement Action – Make a written record of your risk assessment and implement the actions you’ve identified that will reduce risks. Sharing your findings with your staff will ensure that they are all aware of the hazards and the control measures that you’ve put in place.
Regular Reviews and Updates – Because things change over time (processes, staff members, etc.) you will need to review your assessment on a regular basis in order to update the safety measures in place whenever necessary. Look for any changes since4 the last risk assessment (for example new equipment or a changed process) and consider whether more safety measures need to be implemented. Reviews should be carried out at annually and after any changes in the workplace, the workforce and the work processes.