Risk Assessment

A risk assessment, says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is simply a careful examination of what, in the workplace, could cause harm to people. Accidents can ruin lives and you are legally required to assess the risks in your workplace and put in place a plan to control those risks. This is especially true of work at height where workers have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures.


The HSE Recommends the following five steps:

Step 1:   Identify the hazards

Step 2:   Decide who might be harmed and how;

Step 3:   Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions;

Step 4:   Record your findings and implement them;

Step 5:   Review your assessment and update if necessary.

When preparing your risk assessment you must ensure:

  1. That no work is carried out at height if it is safe and reasonably practicable to do it other than at height;
  2. That it is properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in as safe a way as is reasonable practicable;
  3. That you plan for emergencies and rescue;
  4. That you act upon its findings.

Factors to take into account when assessing the risks include:

  • The work activity itself;
  • The equipment to be used;
  • The duration of the work;
  • The location where the work activity is to take place – including the presence of hazards such as overhead power lines and open excavations;
  • The working environment – eg weather conditions and lighting;
  • The condition and stability of existing work surfaces;
  • The knowledge, experience and physical capabilities of the personnel involved.

Work at Height Regulations 2005 l Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
www.hse.gov.uk l Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Access Industry Forum (AIF)

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