What does the law say?
The law says that your risk assessment needs to be “suitable and sufficient” – basically, it needs to prove that:
- You’ve done a thorough check
- You’ve thought about everyone who might be affected such as workers, visitors, anyone nearby
- You’ve dealt with all the big, obvious risks, and the remaining risks are low
- You’ve taken reasonable precautions to keep people safe
- You’ve involved your workers or their representatives in the process
When you’re doing a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, you should go into as much detail as you need to – but no more! So, if something’s not really a risk, you don’t need to worry about it. And, if there are everyday risks that everyone knows about , like getting a paper cut – you don’t need to mention those unless your work makes them worse.
What do risk assessments need to cover?
Remember, you’re not expected to predict the future! You only need to think about risks that you can reasonably expect to happen. For small businesses with simple risks, your risk assessment can be pretty straightforward. Just use your common sense and follow some good guidance.
For smaller businesses or those with only a few or simple risks, the process can be easy, using common sense and good guidance. However, as the business grows and the risks get bigger, your risk assessment process needs to adapt to keep up with those changes. You might need some expert advice, especially for tricky things like complex processes or measuring air quality.
And for bigger businesses or more complicated risks, you might need some expert help. If you’re dealing with really dangerous stuff – like hazardous chemicals or nuclear power – you’ll need a seriously thorough risk assessment that might even be part of a bigger safety report.
Remember to involve workers, and make sure you’re doing everything that can reasonably be expected of you to stay safe!