11 October 2016

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is planning to make some changes to its current guidance on risk and has invited organisations and individuals to submit their views before it publishes its revised guide.

It has highlighted the proposed changes in a draft leaflet (“Risk assessment: A brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace”), available at www.hse.gov.uk. Once interested parties have read this draft, they are invited to comment by way of a questionnaire which can be found at www.surveymonkey.co.uk.

“We are concerned that many people see the requirement to record significant findings of a risk assessment as something separate from other things they do to manage their business,” HSE said. “A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork — it is about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace.”

Without reducing standards, the aim of the revised guidance will be to put more emphasis on controlling risk and less on written assessments.

Risk assessment can be part of an existing business document, HSE points out, such as manufacturers’ instructions, training materials, safety data sheets or workplace “housekeeping” rules.

Given the number of prosecutions undertaken by HSE, where it has to report to the court that serious or even fatal accidents occurred with no risk assessment having been undertaken, spending the five minutes which the questionnaire requires would seem to be time well spent.