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

Dementia Friends image

Dementia Friends

Maples Solicitors are proud to announce that they have now joined to become Dementia Friends which is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative.

The private client department of Maples Solicitors prepare Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney on a regular basis and this often involves dealing with clients who are suffering from dementia. The private client team pride themselves on spending as much time as is necessary to assist all of their clients, but those suffering from dementia often require additional assistance and time to ensure that they have fully understood the legal documentation that they are creating. The private client department are regularly complimented on the way they deal with such clients, whether this be explaining things to them in a clear and uncomplicated manner, spending time with them or putting them at ease.

It is a misconception that anyone suffering from dementia cannot make a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney. Only if someone lacks sufficient mental capacity are they unable to make such a document. It is therefore vitally important upon any diagnosis of dementia that legal advice is taken as soon as possible to make sure that your affairs are in order so that it is easier for your family to deal with your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself.

To become Dementia Friends, Maples Solicitors have pledged to develop their understanding of dementia and continue assisting clients suffering from dementia with their legal affairs in a respectful, friendly and efficient way that is not daunting making the process as easy as possible.

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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"

James Turner BA

James Turner was extremely helpful with our buying process. Everything went smoothly. We are very happy with the level of professionalism demonstrated by the office. Highly recommended solicitors. Will definitely do business with them again.

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 GCILEx

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.

Donna Sandison FCILEx

Donna has been helpful and professional every step of the way during the process. Always on hand to answer any queries and totally professional and friendly at all times.