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Carrying out risk assessments for different business

  • Blog
  • 27 February 2017

Carrying out a risk assessment is a legal requirement when running a UK business, but the process can differ from company to company. From listing different types of company hazards to highlighting risk assessments for different businesses, this blog aims to explain what you need to know.

Carrying out risk assessments for different business

The risk assessment process

The process of carrying out a risk assessment in the workplace can be broken down into a series to steps. These are:

  • Identifying the hazards, such as what could harm your staff when doing their job
  • Identifying who might be harmed, highlighting the employees most at risk
  • Assessing the risks and taking action – deciding how likely harm will occur and proposing changes to prevent it
  • Making a record of your findings

To successfully complete these steps when carrying out a risk assessment, you should also:

  • Walk around your company premises noting what might pose a risk
  • Check that hazards don’t pose a risk to particular employees – a pregnant or disabled employee for example may need additional assessment due to the extra risks posed to them
  • Talk to employees to hear their concerns and opinions about health and safety issues in your company
  • Make sure you have an accident book to check what previous problems there have been

Different types of company hazards

There are many types of hazards that can affect different companies, from electrical machinery to manual handling. Some examples of key hazards are:

  • Electrical or mechanical equipment
  • Falling objects
  • Fire
  • Hazardous substances
  • Manual handling
  • Slips and trips

Hazards like these can differ from company to company. Some businesses might also pose more hazards than others, or they might be affected by several hazards all at once. A high-street shop, for instance, is likely to have fewer hazards than a factory that manufactures electrical equipment. This is why risk assessments need to be specific to each company.

This means that your company risk assessment can be different to other businesses, including those in the same sector. Even where hazards are similar, such as slippery floor, the control measures you’ll need to adopt might have to be different to meet your company’s specific working conditions.

You’ll need to think about particular hazards in your business and the steps you should take to control, reduce, or prevent them, depending on your company.

Risk assessments for different businesses

These examples of business sectors show how hazards can vary across companies in different industries. This, in turn, can affect how a risk assessment is carried out.

Retail companies, like a convenience store

Possible hazards could involve promotional displays obstructing parts of the shop, or goods piled high in the stockroom

Motor vehicle firms, such as a car repair shop

Possible hazards might be burns from battery acid; car fumes causing breathing problems, or a car jack failing

Factory, like a manufacturer

Possible hazards could involve unguarded machinery, a slippery factory floor, or faulty heavy-lifting equipment

Office-based business, such as an accountancy firm

Possible hazards might involve computer wires trailing across the floor, a loose carpet tile or an overloaded plug socket

Helping you carry out risk assessments for your business

Carrying out the right risk assessment for your company is crucial in making sure you have checked and considered everything you should that’s specific to your business. This helps ensure the day-to-day health and safety of your staff and anyone involved in your business.

At FSB we provide help and support for our members across all areas of health and safety, which can assist in carrying out a risk assessment. This includes offering access to:

  • Health and safety fact sheets and documents
  • Relevant regulations for your business
  • Policy advice from experts in the field

To find out more about how we can help you with risk assessments, or general health and safety in your company, please visit our FSB Health and Safety Advice web page.

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