What if there was a shark in the swimming pool?

22 July 2016

Granted, it’s not your everyday workplace situation, but actually it helps to bring the concept of a risk assessment to life.

A risk assessment is about assessing hazards and risks. Imagine you were confronted by the presence of a shark in a swimming pool. In this situation, the shark in the pool is the hazard, and it would only become a risk to a person’s life should they end up in the pool.

It gives full understanding of how a person might end up in the pool, and help define the processes to avoid that eventuality.

Leaving the shark behind for a moment, all employers have a legal duty, under the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations, to assess the risks associated with their company.

This isn’t limited to risks from the work being carried out but also is applicable to any risks connected with the business premises too. It also applies to self-employed persons; whose work poses a risk to people other than themselves.

“Everyone knows they’re not supposed to go in the pool…”

It might be pretty obvious, that no-one should enter the pool – ‘common sense’ even, but what if there’s no sign? Or any lights on? Or no lifeguard present?

You may know the rules and risks, but not everyone who comes into contact with your business will. That’s where risk assessments come in – if you’re not watching the pool, who is?

It’s your responsibility to ensure that everybody who comes into your business knows about the shark in the pool and how to behave whilst around the pool.

If you failed to carry out your risk assessment properly or at all, there’s an increased risk that someone could end up hurt causing a greater chance of risk to life.

That’s not all, overlooking the importance of these processes, could continue to impact your business long after the incident in a number of ways including:

  • Production / output reduction or stoppage
  • Damaged property or machinery
  • Increased costs from fines, fees, or personal injury claims
  • Damaged reputation and loss of business

“No diving, please”

So, how can you make sure that no-one enters the pool, when you’re not there? Risk assessments help you to assess risk, and understand how you can prevent them. You’ll need someone to own the process to ensure that the job gets done. For example, clear signage by the entrance and around the pool is just one way to help alert people.

Lesley Tench, Citation Health & Safety Consultant explains, “It’s important that risk assessments are created by someone who has the experience and knowledge of your company’s tasks and processes. We advise, support and help develop processes from the everyday to the more unique.”

One, two, three… Go.

Risk assessments are only as good as the last time they were completed and every one is different. For each hazard you have, you’ll need to continue to assess at regular intervals and maintain records for reference.

Have you got an unassessed shark in your swimming pool?

If you need help creating and maintaining risk assessments for your business, contact the team today on: 0345 844 1111.

 

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