Health and Safety: Risk Assessment

25th January 2013
Health and Safety: Risk Assessment image

Health and Safety: Risk Assessment

A risk assessment is an important step in protecting your workers and your business as well as complying with the law.  It helps you focus on the risk that really matters in your work place.

In many instances straight forward and relatively inexpensive measures can readily control risk, as ensuring spillages are cleaned up promptly so that people do not slip.

What is a Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment is a careful examination of your work activities, considering what could go wrong and deciding upon suitable control measures to prevent loss, damage or injury in the work place.  The assessment should include the control required to eliminate, reduce or minimise the risk.

What should a Risk Assessment cover?

This will depend upon your organisation and may vary depending upon the nature of your work.  Risk assessments must consider everyone who could be effected by your business activities, not just employees but contractors, temporary workers, customers and the general public.

Some groups are considered more vulnerable, such as persons under 18 years of age and pregnant mothers.   The law specifically requires employers to consider the risks posed to these groups and put in place additional controls if they are required.

Legal duties and obligations

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (“MHSW Regulations”) require all employers and the self employed to assess the risks from their work on anyone who may be affected by their activities.

The MNSW Regulations require employers to carry out a systematic examination of their work activities and record the significant findings of the assessment.  If you have 5 or more employees then your findings must be recorded in writing.

There are other regulations that require specific risk assessments such as the Manual Handling Regulations, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations etc.

Assessing risks in the work place

It is important that risk assessments are carried out systematically and all foreseeable risks are considered.  The Health and Safety Executive recommends a 5 step process as follows:-

1.         Identify the hazards, namely anything with the potential to cause harm, e.g. electricity, hazardous substances.

2.         Identify who could be harmed by these hazards and how.

3.         Identify how you manage the risks as present, and what further steps might be required to reduce the risks further.  These are your control measures.  Risk is the likelihood that damage, loss or injury will be caused by a hazard and how severe the outcome may be.

4.         Record your findings and implement them, and inform those at risk of the controls.

5.         Review and update your risk assessment on a regular basis, e.g. if the staff, activity or the equipment used changes.

An annual review is often advisable.

Control measures

When deciding upon control measures the following principles should be applied:-

(a)       Can the risk be eliminated/avoided?

(b)       Can the risk be contained at source?

(c)       Can the work be adapted to suit the individual?  E.g. the layout of the work place, choice of equipment and methods of working.

(d)       Can engineering or technical controls be used?

Information, instructions and training, and provided personal protective equipment should always be considered as a last resort after the above controls have been considered.

If you need guidance on any health and safety issue at work, then please contact either Daven Naghen on 01775 722261 or email or Gemma Mayer on 01775 722261 or email

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills image

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills

Recent headlines have reported how banks are now cashing in on Wills.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, banks offered customers low cost Wills (or sometimes even free Wills) but the small print allowed the bank to charge extortionate rates to act as Executors. It is reported that banks are expecting billions of pounds of revenue from their Will writing services and administering estates and in some cases their fees have been over £12,000 to administer an estate as they look to charge a fixed fee PLUS a percentage of the deceased’s wealth.

If you or a loved one has made a Will through a bank we would urge you to check who you have appointed as Executors and check any small print which you may have signed. If you are unsure then please speak with one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate team who can look at your existing Will with you. It may be appropriate to make a new Will which revokes any previous Will you have made which could save your family thousands of pounds when your estate needs to be administered.

In the majority of cases, when someone has passed away we can provide the family with a quote of how much the legal fees will be so that there are no nasty surprises once the administration is complete.

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Gemma Mayer LLB

"I would highly recommend Maples Solicitors, especially Gemma Mayer, for any conveyancing work. The level of support and professionalism was excellent at all times. I also felt if I needed to ask or clarify anything that it was not an issue. Buying and selling a house is stressful enough, but Gemma helped me through it step by step."

Anita Toal LLB BA

"I think you are brilliant. You can use my comments above. You are efficient, friendly and quite clearly very good at what you do. Mainly you don’t leave people hanging around too long for." "So easy to talk to her and she understood what I wanted. She put me at ease and I cant thank her enough"

Daven Naghen LLB

"Daven provided an excellent service, from attending the first interview with me to the final court appearance. He filled me full of confidence that he would defend me to which he did and come out with an excellent outcome in view of my position that I had put myself in."

Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

Mike Pepper gave us excellent advice. He was always most helpful and accommodating giving lucid explanations every step of the way. Thank you Mike.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!