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Risk Management


a risk is present when a person is within the vicinity of a hazard and is therefore exposed to the possibility of harm.


a hazard is any situation, substance, activity, event or environment that has the potential to cause harm.



Risk Management Process

There are 5 steps to effectively manage exposure to risks:



When trying to determine the risk factor associated with a hazard, a matrix can be used.


An office manager carried out the risk assessment at his company. Eighteen staff work at the company, one is a wheelchair user. The offices contain typical office furniture and equipment. There is a staff kitchen, where drinks can be prepared and food heated, and toilet and washing facilities on each floor. The offices are cleaned every evening by cleaners from a general office cleaning contractors. They store the cleaning materials in a locked cupboard. The office block was built before 2000. The landlord has surveyed the building for the presence of asbestos and has shared the findings of this survey with all of the tenants. Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were found but were in good condition and in places they were not likely to be damaged, worked on or disturbed, so it was decided to leave them in place. The office block is locked from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am Monday to Friday and at weekends, although 24 hour/7 days a week security cover is provided.


How was the risk assessment done?


Look on next page.....

Risk Assessment

  • To identify the hazards, the manager:


  • looked at where hazards can occur


  • walked around the office, noting things that might pose a risk


  • talked to supervisors and staff, including the member of staff who is a wheelchair user, to learn from their knowledge and experience of areas and activities, and listen to their concerns and opinions about health and safety issues in the workplace;


  • talked to the office cleaning contractors, to ensure that the cleaning activities did not pose a risk to office staff, and vice-versa;


  • looked at the accident book, to understand what has previously resulted in incidents.


  • The manager then wrote down who could be harmed by the hazards and how.


  • For each hazard, the manager wrote down what controls, if any, were in place to manage these hazards. Where existing controls were not considered good enough, the manager wrote down what else needed to be done to control the risk.


  • Putting the risk assessment into practice, the manager decided and recorded who was responsible for implementing the further actions and when they should be done. When each action was completed, it was ticked off and the date recorded. The manager pinned the risk assessment up in the staff room for all staff to see.


  • At an office meeting, the office manager discussed the findings with the staff and gave out copies of the risk assessment. The manager decided to review and update the risk assessment every year, or straightaway if any major changes in the workplace happened.


How Was the Risk Assessment Done?

Your Turn.!

The salon owner carried out the risk assessment in their business, which employs eight staff, working a variety of full- and part-time shifts. The salon is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, six days a week. The premises consist of the salon, a stock room and a staff room with chairs, a kettle and a fridge.


Your task is as follows.

Consider the scenario for a hairdressing salon below and fill out the health and safety risk assessment template.


To retrieve the template, click on the "Download DOC" button on the right.