How often should I do a risk assessment?

21 July 2017

A risk assessment is a legal requirement for all businesses. And if your business employees five or more people, you’re legally required to document it.

How often you conduct risk assessments will depend on a number of factors – we’ll delve into each in more detail in this article.

  1. Internal incidents

You should review your risk assessment if there’s an incident within your business. You should look at how the incident happened and, in relation to the current processes in your risk assessment, see if there are any gaps that need filling. This is a crucial part of reducing the risk of similar incidents occurring again.

Remember, if you make any changes to your risk assessment, you need to re-circulate the assessment with employees and ensure they fully understand the update.

  1. External incidents

We’d recommend you re-visit your risk assessment if an external incident happens – whether it’s in your industry or not – that’s relevant to your business’ set-up.

Use the learnings you have from the external incident to question your own processes, and tighten your procedures to avoid something similar happening in your business.

  1. When a process changes

Before implementing or changing a process or activity, you should carry out a risk assessment. This isn’t to say you need to re-evaluate all your processes but, at the very least, you need to look at the new process itself, as well as the knock-on effect it could have on any related processes.

  1. New equipment

A risk assessment needs to be done before introducing a new piece of machinery. This is so that you can ensure you fully understand the potential hazards involved, and identify safe processes for employees to follow when using the machinery.

  1. Annually

It’s recommended that you review your risk assessment at least once a year – this includes annual fire safety, COSHH and DSEAR risk assessments too. During annual assessments, you should review all your processes.

  1. Change in employee

If the person who’s involved with a process or activity changes, you should review your assessment before the new employee steps in.

  1. Change in environment

You should review your risk assessment if you change the environment a process or activity takes place in. For example, if the storage or premises changes, or if an employee goes from working at ground level to working at height.

Remember

The effectiveness of a risk assessment boils down to how you communicate it. For safe processes and practices to be adhered to, it’s your responsibility to clearly communicate the outcome of your risk assessment, changes that’ve been made and ensure all relevant employees fully understand the processes and hazards involved.

If risk assessments are getting your head in a twist, get in touch with our experts today on 0345 844 1111, and they’ll talk you through it.

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