Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association :: View topic - Risk Assessment

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Joined: Nov 10, 2000
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:45 pm Reply with quote Back to top
I'm new to health and safety and have been tasked with implementing and updating risk assessments for our onsite operations.

(arrrghh - something I have never done before!!! Cry )

We are a distribution company and have around 25 staff - 10 of which are office based and I have already found information about DSE assessments, but the remaining staff are based in our warehouse - operating fork-lift trucks, stacking pallets, loading vehicles.

Could somebody give me an 'dummys guide to risk assessment' or help me with a starting point? I'm starting to loose hair over this one.

Any help would be much apprecaited.

Thanks in advance...  
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Executive Committee
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Joined: Mar 11, 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Chesterfield, Derbyshire
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:27 am Reply with quote Back to top
Ahh, I know exactly what you are facing.

There are many different ways of tackling risk assessment (obviously the HSE's Five steps in one apporach) but beware - you need to pick the right assessment methodology for your business in order to get the most from it. The one thing that you must understand is that there is a purpose to risk assessment (several actually) but simply complying with the law is not one of them.

So, before you do any assessing, you need to work out your game plan. Some assessment programmes focus on spotting hazards as their main 'thrust', personally, I'm not so keen on these as I have never worked out how to 'see' electricity. Anyway, I'd rather look at what people do in their jobs - in other words, be driven by TASKS. People do get hurt at work, but generally not by simply standing around. When there is an incident, one of the first questions is usually 'what was the person doing?'

Therefore, I would start by building a task listing which notes all of the activities that people do for your business. The best way to make a start is like this: Draw 3 overlapping circles and lable them people, locations and equipment. Fill 3 lists with items from these headings and start to build a list of 'someone, somewhere, doing something with something'

An example taking one from each circle would be loading bay, Warehouse Operative, roller shutter door. Clearly there is a task here - opening and closing roller shutter doors.

Or LGV driver, lorry, fuel pump - task? Refuelling vehicles.

Electrician, ladder, .............

See the idea?

Once you have the list you can cross reference the assessments that you already have and identify the ones that you still need. Should something go wrong and you don't have an assessment, at least you will be able to show that you have a plan to get to it!

There is quite a bit more to this, so why don't you come to the next meeting of SOHSA and we can talk this through some more. Watch out for some future workshops that we will be running to cover this and other popular issues.

Chris Jerman
Honourary Chairman
Trying to bring a sense of proportion to all of this.
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