Read more Claire Williams
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.
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.
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.