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Read more Claire Williams

Marketing Director

Safety Media

Risk assessment. How to

tame the task

A recent article in Health & Safety at Work

Magazine reported that the TUC has identified

a significant decline in risk assessment across

all sectors and industries. Although 80% of the

1,073 respondents reported that a formal risk

assessment had been carried out, only 47%

felt confident that these were adequate.

The worst offending industry is education

where only 25% of respondents reported an

adequate undertaking of risk assessment.

The survey asked safety representatives to

name their top five hazards and a massive

69% of respondents included stress in their top

five. This highlights the importance of mental

health awareness training in the workplace as

an issue that still needs to be managed better.

Mental health

Bullying and harassment in the workplace is

next on the list with central and local

government generating more cases than other

sectors. The general perception for the

requirement for risk assessments is that risks

are only associated with hazardous activities or

environments - warehouse floors, building

works, driving activities etc. This is not so.

Activities that involve desk work and

administrative tasks should also have a proper

risk assessment conducted to minimise the

likelihood of things such as repetitive strain

injury, adverse reactions to poor posture and

eye strain, are minimised where possible.

Physical health

One area that is often overlooked, is the need

to conduct risk assessments when employees

inform their employer that they are pregnant.

All areas of the employee's work schedule

need to be considered. These include tasks

and not just ergonomic considerations, and

suitable adjustments should be made.

The number of friends I speak to who are

expecting babies and have not had a proper

risk assessment terrifies me. If properly set up,

the initiative does not need to be a time

consuming or cumbersome task. However, it

is a task that should be conducted promptly

and repeated at a number of intervals

throughout the term of the pregnancy as

things change so quickly.

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