Common risk assessment mistakes many contractors make

Assessing risks in the workplace should be a perpetual activity and yet, so many contractors still see it as a tick box exercise. This is a common mistake and along with these five other risk assessment ‘mistakes’ or oversights, a company could be at risk if they are not taking health and safety and risk assessments as seriously as they should.

1 Only doing it because ‘you have to’

Risk assessments are a legal requirement, but this doesn’t mean it is a tick box exercise that once done, you can ignore until a later time. Risk assessments are a key tool in managing safety because, without it, no contractor can manage the risks.

2 Done from the office…

… unless it is the office you are risk assessing, of course! There are software programs that suggest you can complete a risk assessment from your laptop, but this gives only a partial picture. There is no substitute for taking a walk around the site but be prepared for what you may or may not find.

3 Only considering control measures already in place

You need to know what these control measures are, but the bigger step is understanding which control should be in place but are not.

This means continually asking two key questions about what you should get out of a risk assessment;

  • What actions do we need to take to get in control?
  • What actions need to be taken to stay in control?

4 No management plan

When tends to happen with risk assessments is that they are not only done in isolation but individually, the danger being that the bigger picture is ignored or remains hidden. They are also used as a reactive tool when someone realises they may be a problem.

This usually happens when they are not a management-led activity. What should happen, on an almost cyclical and continual basis, is a list of risk assessment outputs. In other words, a list of what, where and how actions need to be risk assessed.

Just as important is that there is a connection between these risk assessments. Think of each of as a piece of a puzzle that makes up the whole jigsaw.

5 No risk-ranking

So, a risk assessment is complete – what does it really tell you at a glance? Are there minor temporary issues, or ones that are major and permanent. Maybe there are major but temporary risks that need dealing with or minor, permanent issues.

No ranking means only seeing part of the information, and neither does it inform what actions need to be taken and when.

Risk assessments are an important tool within the wide and ever-changing landscape of health and safety on and around the site. It forms parts of CHAS accreditation and with this under your belt, you can be ever-confident you have the full range of skills and abilities to keep your staff, contractors and the public safe.

How can we help you?

Click here to download our NEW FREE eBook, informing you of the benefits of CHAS to your business.

If you’re in need of assistance with any aspect of this accreditation here at Synergos we’d be delighted to help, call 01484 817 444 or Email and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.

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Steve Kilburn
Steve Kilburn
I initially trained as an industrial chemist working in a variety of manufacturing environments eventually moving into quality management which grew to encompass environmental and occupational health and safety management systems. I hold a Masters Degree in Health and Safety law and Environmental Law and a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Waste Management and I am a Graduate Level Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). In my spare time I enjoy reading, my favourite author is Stephen King, and listening to music, generally from the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
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