Guidance on Risk Assessment in the Workplace

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1 Guidance on Risk Assessment in the Workplace

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3 Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989 Risk Assessment 2013 Important note This guidance is not an authoritative interpretation of the Law and is issued for general guidance only. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, the Social Security Department cannot accept any responsibility in law for the contents, as any interpretation of the legislation will ultimately be a matter for the Courts. Copies of the legislation may be purchased from the States Bookshop which is located on the ground floor of Morier House, Halkett Place, St Helier, or by accessing the Jersey Legal Information Board website

4 Every year people working in Jersey suffer accidents and work related ill health. The impact on the individual can be severe, affecting not only their ability to work but also their personal life. Accidents and work related ill health occur in all sectors of employment, although those working in the construction sector are more likely to suffer an accident whilst at work. Manual handling and falls, including slips and trips, continue to be the main causes of accidents at work. Many of the costs incurred by accidents and ill health are not covered by insurance and will have to be met by the business itself. These costs can include: Payment of wages for injured employees Loss of production time Cost of investigation into circumstances of the accident or work related ill health Cost of remedial action required Extra wages or overtime payments Increased employers liability insurance premiums Managing health and safety Many accidents and incidents of work related ill health can be prevented by adopting a structured approach to managing health and safety that ensures that hazards are identified and measures are taken to reducing risks. This approach, generally referred to as risk assessment, is one of the key steps to managing health and safety, providing the opportunity to take action which is proportionate to the risks that are faced in any particular workplace. A risk assessment involves finding out what in your work could cause harm to people and deciding whether you have done enough, or need to do more, to protect them.

5 The legal requirement for carrying out risk assessments Article 3 of the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law, 1989, sets out the general duty on employers to ensure their employees are not exposed to risks to health and safety; Article 5 sets out the general duty placed on employers to ensure that persons other than their employees are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. The duties set out under Article 3 and Article 5 are limited by the phrase so far as is reasonably practicable. This phrase has been interpreted by the Courts as a need to balance the sacrifice, either in money, time or trouble, on the one hand, against the nature of the risk involved on the other hand. Where the sacrifice is grossly disproportionate to the risks involved, it is not considered to be reasonably practicable. The balancing of the sacrifice against the risk evolved into the process of risk assessment in line with the interpretation of reasonably practicable. In order to clarify an employer s duty to carry out risk assessments, Article 3 has been amended to include specific reference to the requirement for employers to undertake risk assessments to ensure their employees health and safety: Article 3(2)(aa) requires employers to identify and assess the risk to their employees health and safety Article 3(3)(b) requires employers with 5 or more employees to record and assess significant risks, and the action taken to address them, in the written health and safety policy statement Article 3(3)(c) requires the policy statement, and any revisions, to be prepared in a language, or if necessary in more than one language, which will be understood by each of the employer s employees and must be brought to their attention Whilst the amendment to the Law clarifies the need, under Article 3, for employers to undertake risk assessments for their employees health and safety, employers are also advised that carrying out a risk assessment approach to managing health and safety will be seen as an effective way of meeting the duty placed on them under Article 5 of the Law.

6 Carrying out a risk assessment Although there are a number of alternative approaches to risk assessment that have been developed, the 5 step approach is generally recommended as being appropriate for most organisations that operate in Jersey. This process involves the following stages: 1. Look for the hazards 2. Decide who might be harmed and how 3. Evaluate the risks and decide whether the existing control measures are adequate or whether more should be done 4. Record your findings 5. Review and revise the assessment as necessary Who should do the assessment? In most cases somebody within the workplace will be able to do the assessment. The most important thing is for the person to have a sound knowledge of the work so that they know what happens, or might happen. There may be times when specialist help is required to complete an assessment, for example when considering the design and installation of local exhaust ventilation, or when undertaking health surveillance procedures etc. In these cases, employees actually doing the work must still be consulted. Hazard and Risk - Don t let words in this guide put you off! Hazard means anything that can cause harm (e.g. chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, etc.) Risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody will be harmed by the hazard Preparation Before starting the assessment, walk around the workplace to see what is actually going on. Depending upon the size and nature of the Company, you may wish to break the task of risk assessment down into manageable categories, for example: Separate work areas, e.g. office, stores, workshop; or Stages in the production process, e.g. handling raw materials, machining; or Defined tasks, e.g. use of powered equipment, scaffolding, manual handling.

7 Stage1 Look for the hazards A HAZARD is anything which can cause harm There are lots of ways to help identify the hazards associated with your workplace: Ask your employees. They will have hands-on experience and knowledge of the job which will be invaluable in identifying hazards. They may also have noticed things which aren t immediately obvious Look at health and safety publications which cover your work activities. The Health and Safety Inspectorate publishes a wide range of guidance, much of which is accessible through the website: These documents may provide guidance on the hazards that are likely to be in your type of workplace and what you should be doing to control the risks from them. The UK HSE also produces a wide range of industry specific guidance, much of which can be accessed through the website Look at manufacturers and suppliers data sheets and instructions, which must contain health and safety information about their products Check with Professional Bodies and Associations, who often produce health and safety information Review the accident record book Once you have reviewed the above, you may find it useful to construct a preliminary assessment checklist, identifying the main hazards likely to be found within your workplace, and the associated issues you may wish to consider further. An example of a preliminary checklist for an office is shown here: Hazard Manual handling Display screen equipment Electrical equipment Fire Slips, trips and falls Hazardous substances Others Issues to consider Heavy loads, lifting equipment, training Level of use, comfort of staff, training Visual checks, routine maintenance Means of escape, fire alarm and fire fighting, housekeeping, storage, smoking Maintenance, housekeeping, training Can use of existing chemicals be eliminated, or can safer substitutes be used? Also consider data sheets, procedures for use Toilets, washrooms, temperature, welfare Walk around the workplace using the preliminary checklist as a prompt. Make sure all areas and activities are covered, and talk to your employees actually doing the work to see whether they have any concerns or comments.

8 Stage2 Decide who might be harmed and how You need to consider who may be affected by the hazards in your workplace. This may include: Your employees, not forgetting trainees, pregnant women, young workers etc. Others, e.g. sub-contract cleaners, delivery personnel, maintenance personnel, anyone who may only be in the workplace for short periods of time or on an infrequent basis Members of the public and other visitors Stage3 Evaluate the risks and decide whether the control measures in place are adequate RISK is the chance that somebody will be harmed by the hazard You now have to decide, for each hazard identified, whether you have done enough to control the risk from it or whether you need to do more and, if so, what. You need to check that you have: Done all the things the Law says you have to do; for example, there are legal requirements relating to the guarding of dangerous parts of machinery Considered what is generally accepted as good practice in your industry Considered whether there is anything else you can do to reduce the risk further If you find something needs to be done, try and remove the hazard altogether. If this is not possible you need to control the risk so that it is unlikely to cause harm. Try and follow the following principles - if possible, in the order listed below: Use something safer, e.g. water-based paints usually present less of a hazard than solvent-based paints Prevent access to the hazard, e.g. by guarding Organise the work so as to reduce exposure to the hazard Issue personal protective equipment Provide welfare facilities, e.g. washing facilities for decontamination purposes

9 Stage4 Record your findings If you employ 5 or more employees you are required to keep a written record of your assessment of significant risks and the action taken to address them in your written health and safety policy. If you employ less than 5 employees, it is still recommended that you keep a written record of your assessment for future reference or use. Stage5 Review and revise the assessment as necessary If you introduce a new machine, substance or procedure, you need to consider whether this will introduce new hazards by carrying out a risk assessment along the lines of that described above. You also need to review your assessment from time to time to make sure that the precautions are still working effectively. When undertaking the assessment, make a date for the review and note it down. As an example, a risk assessment for an office is shown over the page.

10 Sample risk assessment for an office Hazard Who might be harmed? Existing controls already in place to address the hazard What further action is required? Date for implementation Responsible person Display screen equipment All office staff All users have an individual workstation assessment, as required under the Display Screen Equipment Approved Code of Practice. Free eye test available if requested. Adjustable equipment. Review of workstation assessments every 2 years On-going DSE Co-ordinator, Mr X Manual handling All staff paper, books, files Sack truck available for transporting boxes of paper etc. Top shelves used for storage of light boxes only. Bulk supplies delivered to point of storage. Reminder to all staff that heavy equipment and furniture only moved by named staff Immediate Supervisors Messenger heavy loads, office furniture and equipment Named personnel received manual handling training. Sack truck and trolley available for transporting heavier loads. Need for manual training of named staff to be kept under review Date Operations, Mr Y Electrical e.g. office equipment, portable heaters, kettles All staff Sufficient sockets provided. Photocopiers and printers maintained on contract. Equipment must be maintained. Arrangements to be made for periodic formal visual inspection of all equipment and periodic testing and inspection of portable heaters Date, Mr T (Staff bring in their own kettles.) Staff instructed not to bring in their own kettles as maintenance cannot be assured drinks machine to be provided Immediate Fire All staff and visitors Fire evacuation procedures displayed. Fire evacuation practised on a 6 monthly basis. Exits and fire exits clearly marked. Access to exits and fire extinguishers to be kept clear at all times. Fire alarms and extinguishers maintained on contract. Waste bins emptied daily by cleaners. Regular inspections should be carried out to ensure that fire rules are followed and housekeeping standards are maintained Training of named fire wardens to be carried out To be set up immediately Date to organise Slips, trips and falls e.g. floors, staircases and entrances All staff and visitors Reasonable housekeeping standards maintained. Trailing cables from electrical equipment managed. Drawers to filing cabinets kept closed when not in use. All staff provided with a locker for personal belongings. Floors and staircases cleaned daily by the cleaners. Stairs well lit and handrails provided. Housekeeping to be discussed at regular staff meetings Supervisors given the responsibility of maintaining standards in their areas Immediate Immediate to advise Supervisors

11 Sample risk assessment for an office Hazard Who might be harmed? Existing controls already in place to address the hazard What further action is required? Date for implementation Responsible person Bleach and other cleaning products Cleaners Products kept in locked cupboard. Protective gloves provided. Health and safety data sheets with information on correct use to be obtained from suppliers and reviewed. Consider whether safer alternative available to bleach. Cleaners to be told how to use products properly and what to do in case of spillage or splashing Immediate Smoking All staff No smoking policy in building. Staff may go outside for a cigarette. No further action required Hygiene and welfare All staff Toilets supplied with hot & cold water and soap/ towels. cleaned on a daily basis. Drinking water available. Staff canteen available for breaks. No further action required Environmental comfort All staff Building kept reasonably warm and light. Plenty of space in offices. Carry out regular inspections to ensure heating, lighting, ventilation and space are adequate On-going Falling objects All staff and others Light materials stored on the upper shelves. Stepladders or stool used to access upper shelves in storage areas. Make certain that ladders and stools provided are well maintained and regularly checked Immediate Risk assessment for Assessment undertaken Assessment review Company name Date Date Company address Signed Postcode Date Completing the risk assessment Make sure that you pass on the significant findings of your risk assessment to your employees. Finally, remember that the risk assessment is a means and not an end. If your assessment shows that you have to do more to control risk, then do it!

12 Sources of information Design and Production AEA Information on the local requirements for health and safety is available by contacting: Health and Safety at Work Inspectorate, Social Security Department, P.O. Box 55, Philip Le Feuvre House, La Motte Street, St Helier, Jersey JE4 8PE Telephone: Facsimile: Website: Health and Safety Executive guidance documents, and literature on all subjects dealing with health and safety issues, can be viewed online at Priced and free copies of publications, and free downloadable versions, are available from: HSE Books, P.O. Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA Telephone: Website: August 2013

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