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5 Steps of Risk Assessment: A Guide by HSE


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides a straightforward process for risk assessment, known as the 5 steps of a risk assessment.

Important: Links to further information are available in the student download area.

This process is standard and applicable to all businesses, regardless of size or type. Adhering to HSE guidelines ensures maximum compliance.

The 5 Steps

  1. Step 1: Identify the Hazards
  2. Step 2: Determine Potential Harm
  3. Step 3: Evaluate Risks and Precautions
  4. Step 4: Record Findings and Implementation
  5. Step 5: Review and Update

Conducting a Risk Assessment

It's crucial not to overcomplicate the risk assessment process. In many cases, risks are well-known and control measures are easily applicable.

If conducting a risk assessment for the first time, you may have already taken reasonable precautions to prevent injury.

For Small Organisations: If you understand the process and your organization's needs, you can conduct the assessment yourself. Health and safety expertise is not mandatory.

For Larger Organizations: Consider involving a health and safety advisor if needed.

Involvement of Staff: Ensure staff or their representatives are included in the process. Their insights into daily operations can enhance the thoroughness and effectiveness of the assessment.

Understanding Hazards and Risks

When conducting a risk assessment, keep in mind:

  • Hazard: Anything with potential to cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, or working from ladders.
  • Risk: The likelihood and severity of harm caused by hazards, ranging from minor cuts to serious injuries.

A comprehensive risk assessment involves identifying workplace hazards, evaluating potential harm, and determining necessary control measures to minimize risks.