Risk Assessment

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, Part 3, Section 19 all employers and self-employed persons are required to identify the hazards within their workplace or due to their work activity and assess the risks associated with these hazards.

Risk assessments must be available in written form / hardcopy.

Steps to risk assessment:

1: Identify the hazards

    • Take a walk / have a look around your workplace
    • Talk to your employees
    • Establish what aspects of your workplace can cause harm – these are the hazards

2: Who is at risk and what is the nature of that risk?

    • Be clear regarding who may be at risk (e.g. specific employees, all employees, the public, etc.)
    • Establish how employees and other persons may be at risk
    • What type of injury or harm may occur – this is the risk
    (e.g. back injury from repeated lifting, eyestrain from constant use of DSE)

3: Measure the risks & determine controls

    • What is the likelihood of the risk occurring (e.g. very likely, likely, not likely at all)
    • What is the potential severity of the risk if it occurs (e.g. death, cuts and grazes, bruises, major damage to property, etc.)
    • Can you eliminate the risk altogether?
    • If not, consider how you can reduce or eliminate the likelihood and the potential severity to as low as is reasonably possible
    • What controls can you introduce – using a less hazardous chemical, local exhaust ventilation, segregate pedestrians from vehicles, appropriate training and information
    • PPE should be used at the last resort. However it can be used in conjunction with several other control measures

    4: Record your findings

    Under Irish Health and Safety legislation you are required to keep a written record of your risk assessment
      • Keep your results simple
      • Write down the date of the assessment and who it was completed by
      • Take note of ‘actions’ needed, the date they need to be completed by and who is responsible
      • Prioritise the most significant risks and deal with them first

      5: Review

      Review your risk assessment when there are significant changes within your workplace or you have any reason to believe it is no longer relevant.
        • It is a good idea to set a review date (every 12 months)
        • Review the risk assessment before this date if there have been significant changes
        • Update your risk assessment to take account of these changes

        Page updated:12/05/2015

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Risk Assessment Definitions

The HSA define the following terms as:

HAZARD – in general means anything that can cause harm but, for your purposes, this must be workplace-generated (e.g. dangerous chemicals, electricity, working at heights from ladders, poor housekeeping).

RISK – is the likelihood, great or small, that someone will be harmed by the hazard, together with the severity of harm suffered. Risk also depends on the number of people exposed to the hazard.

CONTROLLING RISK – means that the employer does all that is reasonably practicable to ensure that a hazard will not injure anyone (e.g. by eliminating the hazard, enclosing it in a totally enclosed container, using general or local exhaust ventilation, implementing safe operating procedures, or providing personal protection, as a last resort).

HSA Risk Assessment Template and Tool

The following risk assessment has been developed by the HSA, click the blue text below to access the template. This form can be completed electronically or manually – either way you need to keep a hardcopy of the document in your place of work.

HSA Blank Risk Assessment Template

Click here to access the HSA’s BeSMART Online Risk Assessment Tool

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