As an employer you have the duty to assess the risks to Health, Safety and Welfare of all persons in your employment and also to those not actually in your employment but entering your premises – members of the public or visitors to your site.
You have diligently carried out your work place risk assessments, but is this enough? Have you considered who has been involved in the process of creating the risk assessments and how have these been communicated?
This is where involvement from your employees and contractors is not only important, it can be critical as a recent case involving a major manufacturer shows (see our blog for more details).
As the person responsible for risk assessment you should consider that fact that your employees may be the ones best placed to identify the key hazards and risks from machinery and equipment, after all, they are the ones operating these machines on a daily basis.
As part of this they know the capability of equipment, the process of handling any raw materials, as well the short cuts which operators might be tempted to take to get the job done faster. Their involvement gives added value and an insight which would otherwise be missing.
Contractors attending your premises should provide their own risk assessments before they carry out non-standard and higher risk tasks such as electrical or mechanical maintenance, work at height or confined space operations. This is typically submitted for review as method statements and risk assessments RAMS.
Don’t forget that you must then also play your role, particularly when the work site is not a segregated area but within your normal operating areas. You should be checking these documents before they arrive and also making sure that they comply with what they have written down when on site. You may also need to issue permits to work to ensure that the task can be carried out safely.
Plan Do Check Act
Ensuring you get “buy in“ to your risk assessment process, shows that as far as reasonably practicable, you are working towards best practice. Your aim, whether for work by your in house team or external contractors, is to monitor and review activities to ensure effective requirements and standards continue to be met
Through keeping health and safety high on the agenda, your staff, shareholders and customers will all see a business which is safe, controlled and thoroughly professional – a benefit for all.