A common question that is always posed is “Can we complete a risk assessment ourselves, or does it have to be a Safety Specialist”?

The quick and easy answer is Yes – you can complete risk assessments yourselves. And with the use of a good template, it should be a relatively quick and painless task.

That said, some people are still apprehensive about completing the risk assessments themselves and have a few questions so here are a few tips to hopefully help out a little…

1 – Use a good Risk Assessment Template

Using a good template should give a detailed approach on how to complete the risk assessment form, ask the right questions and prompt you as to what hazards you are likely to need to assess. It will also be good so that you don’t have to start from scratch. Take a look at this risk assessment template which is free to download.

2 – What if it comes in as High Risk?

Simply put, you will need to keep adding additional control measures until the risk is reduced to be more acceptable. If, however, this is not possible, you may need to introduce a Permit to Work that will add very strong supervision of the task.

If this is the case, you may want to get a little help. Contact me via email on rldavies@orbisenvironmental.com or by phone on 07402093183 to chat through anything like this. There is no charge.

3 – Will I be to blame if the Risk Assessment is wrong and someone gets hurt?

No, this is a common misunderstanding. Unless of course you know its high risk or unsafe and plan to do it anyway which is a completely different story.

4 – A little info on “Competence”

Provided you know the job well and understand what hazards could exist, you can apply a common-sense approach to most day to day activates being risk assessed.

The need for a specialist comes in if the task is different to what you are comfortable doing, high risk or a specialist subject such as explosive atmospheres. In that case, yes, a specialist is likely needed.

5 – How often should Risk Assessments be reviewed?

Typically, every 1 to 2 years for well-controlled common tasks. For higher-risk tasks 6 months to 12 months is common and where it’s a new process, 3 to 6 months is common.

Of course, if anything happens that makes the risk assessment come into doubt such as complaints from those doing the job or an accident, then it should be reviewed immediately.

6 – Once I have done the risk assessment, how do I get help to see if it’s to a good enough standard?

As mentioned, using a decent form is a good start and then asking your line manager or the Safety Officer for any bits that need help. If you are the line manager or don’t have a safety officer, feel free to get in touch.

7 – It’s all a bit too much for me – How much does it cost for a specialist to do this for me?

A one-off risk assessment can be completed for something in the region of £200, this would include approx. half a day worth of site visit and writing the Risk Assessment.

That said, it is normally a good idea to get more for your money and look at all of the risk assessments in one project which could be for as little as £50 per risk assessment.

It’s not always a good idea to buy an online version or have someone do it from a distance and send it to you. Be careful of this because it can sometimes be a bigger problem further down the line.

Hopefully, this is all useful and sets you up with the basics. There is always plenty of help available for those willing to ask. I am happy to talk through anything and can be contacted via email on rldavies@orbisenvironmental.com or by phone on 07402093183. There is no charge for general advice.