Risk Assessment: A Template and Guide
Every company has a responsibility to ensure workplaces are safe and employees, contractors and members of the public are protected from harm. Using risk assessments allow employers to effectively identify hazards, assess the level and likelihood of the risks they pose, and put control measures in place to reduce or, where possible, completely eliminate risks.
So carrying out risk assessments can help employers take responsibility for health and safety while creating a workplace with minimal risks. But in addition to creating a healthier work environment, risk assessments are also a legal requirement for companies with more than five employees — they form the basis for health and safety policies and procedures. It’s important that risk assessments are carried out thoroughly and recorded clearly.
But if you’re not sure how to structure and record your risk assessments, it can be difficult to know where to start. Using a risk assessment template, you can make sure you complete assessments to a high standard and record findings in a clearly structured way.
What Are Risk Assessment Templates?
A risk assessment template is an effective risk management tool — it’s a document that breaks risk assessments down into different stages, often using tables with space for you to record identified hazards and which people are at risk. Templates will also include a risk matrix, a tool for evaluating the level and likelihood of risks.
After risks have been identified and evaluated, templates will direct you to record existing control measures and any additional control measures that need to be implemented to reduce risks.
Do You Need to Use a Risk Assessment Template?
You don’t need to use a risk assessment template — you can create your own structure for carrying out and recording assessments. However, using a template can help make the process of risk assessments simpler and easier. Templates save you time and allow you to record findings clearly so they can be easily understood and communicated to other people within your organisation.
The Golden Rule When Using Risk Assessment Templates
Some risk assessment templates will have example answers and findings already filled in — don’t make the mistake of copying these. It’s important that you make risk assessments your own — copied risk assessments won’t meet legal requirements. Every company will have unique hazards and risks, so risk assessments will only be relevant and effective if they’re specific to your business and company operations.
How Should You Structure Risk Assessments?
There’s no one structure for risk assessments, which is why you’ll often find different risk assessment templates for different industries. What’s included in risk assessments can vary depending on the size and industry of your business, the legislation you need to comply with, and the nature of your business operations. Risk assessments of new workplaces may also differ from assessments carried out in areas that have been assessed previously.
However, you always need to follow the five steps of risk assessments:
- Identify hazards
- Consider who is at risk
- Evaluate risks and take action to control them
- Record your findings
- Regularly review risk assessments
How to Find Risk Assessment Templates
CHAS offers a range of eRAMS (electronic risk assessment and method statement templates) that can help you comply with legislation and effectively manage risk throughout your business.
You can download the CHAS risk assessment template or COSHH assessment template below:
If you want to access more industry-approved templates from CHAS, the UK’s leading authority on compliance and risk management, sign up for a CHAS contractor membership. Once you become a member, you’ll have access to not just risk assessment templates, but also general safety audit templates, example health and safety and risk management policies, and compliance checklists. And these are only a few of the benefits of a CHAS membership — as a CHAS contractor, you’ll gain access to a wide variety of benefits and risk management tools, from insurance solutions to discounted training modules, business shield support and more.