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Health and Safety Risk Assessment:
Why and How?

The Health and Safety Risk Assessment (abbreviated as Risk Assessment in the fields of safety and prevention) involves determining the impact that a hazard can have on the health of a company's employees. Health and Safety Risk Assessment should be seen as a diagnosis, allowing for the ranking of hazards from most to least significant within the company. The ultimate goal is "health and safety risk prevention," meaning to provide the best solutions to eliminate risks when possible, or otherwise, to minimize their significance.

Example of a Health and Safety Risk Assessment method that we have developed.

Why Conduct a Health and Safety Risk Assessment?

In many countries around the world, regulations require employers to assess and mitigate health and safety risks for their employees. In the United Kingdom, the principal legislation governing workplace safety is 'The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999", a government-issued statute. The introduction of these regulations define "employers' obligations in respect of the health and safety of workers and in relation to measures relating to the minimum health and safety requirements for the workplace". Among its obligations, Regulation 3 notably states that 'Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of... the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work'. Beyond the regulatory necessity of complying with 'The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999', companies also assess health and safety risks and implement risk prevention campaigns for financial reasons.


For example, an effective health and safety risk prevention campaign can reduce the number of workplace accidents. Fewer workplace accidents mean lower employer contributions to workers' compensation insurance. Another advantage is that by improving working conditions, companies can better retain employees, which is especially crucial in sectors facing labor shortages like hospitality and food service. Finally, reducing health and safety risks results in fewer work stoppages due to accidents, making human resource management and company scheduling easier to handle.

These examples clearly demonstrate that risk assessment and prevention are not merely administrative burdens imposed by regulations. They are, first and foremost, important tools that, when well-utilized, help keep employees healthy and consequently allow companies to thrive.

How to Conduct a Health and Safety Risk Assessment?

First Step: Defining Work Units. We discussed earlier what a work unit is, but how do you make sure the work units you choose are relevant? Quite simply, if your work units allow each employee to know whether or not they are concerned by it, the division is appropriate. One of the simplest divisions, which works in many cases, is by job position.

Second Step: Identifying Hazards for Each Work Unit In each work unit you have created, you now have to list the different hazards. Note that hazard is not synonymous with risk! A hazard is a situation that exposes you to one or more risks. For example, let's consider an auto repair shop where we are mechanics; our work unit is the workshop. One of the hazards in our work unit is being under cars elevated by lifts. If the lift malfunctions and the car falls, the risks for us could include being crushed, bruising, fractures, loss of limb use, or even death.


Third Step: Listing All Risks Each Hazard May Cause Once all the hazards in your company are listed, it is essential to focus on the damages they may generate: the risks. For each hazard, it's best to indicate the corresponding risks in order of severity, from least severe to most sever.

Fourth Step : Evaluating Your Risks with a Health and Safety Risk Assessment Method involves defining several criteria that will allow ranking the hazards from most to least concerning. At Easy-Occupational Risk Assessment, we use a method based on 4 criteria:


  • Severity : No Medical Leave, Medical Leave, Irreversible Effect, Death

  • Likelihood: Highly Likely, Likely, Possible, Almost Impossible

  • Exposure: Once a Day, Once a Week, Once a Month, Once a Year

  • Control: No Control, Partially Controlled, Controlled, Well Controlled


This risk assessment method has been automated in our blank risk assessment template in Excel format.

What to Do After My Health and Safety Risk Assessment?

After assessing your various risks, you will need to find solutions to eliminate or reduce them. According to the general principles of prevention, from The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, risk prevention should begin by seeking to permanently eliminate each risk. If that is not possible, the risk should be reduced by implementing engineering controls first and personal protective equipment (PPE) secondly. Lastly, prevention also involves training and raising awareness among each of the employees regarding the risks they face.

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