Risk Assessment & Safety Statement?
WHAT IS A RISK ASSESSMENT?
Section 19 of the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 requires that employers and those who control workplaces to any extent must:
- Identify the hazards in the workplaces under their control
- Assess the risks presented by these hazards
In this context, a hazard is something with the potential to cause harm (for example, chemical substances, machinery or methods of work), while measuring the risk depends on:
- The likelihood of that harm occurring in the workplace
- The potential severity of that harm (the degree of injury or ill health following an accident)
- The number of people who might be exposed to the hazard
Employers must write down these workplace risks and what to do about them. This is known as a risk assessment.
Assessing risk means you must examine carefully what, in the workplace, could cause harm to your employees, other employees and other people, including customers, visitors and members of the public. This allows you to weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or whether you should do more to prevent harm.
Employers are required to implement any improvements considered necessary by the risk assessment. The aim is to make sure that no-one gets hurt or becomes ill. It is important to remember that, in identifying hazards and assessing risks, employers should only consider those which are generated by work activities. There is no need to consider every minor hazard or risk which we accept as part of our lives. For example, you do not need to identify lifting 1kg of material as a workplace hazard; but lifting a 25kg box of 1kg packages off the floor would be a hazard.
The results of any risk assessments should be written into the safety statement.
WHAT IS A SAFETY STATEMENT?
Section 20 of the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 requires that an organization produce a written programme to safeguard:
- The safety and health of employees while they work
- The safety and health of other people who might be in the workplace, including customers, visitors and members of the public
The safety statement represents a commitment to their safety and health. It should state how the employer will ensure:
- their safety and health
- the resources necessary to maintain and review safety and health laws and standards
The safety statement should influence all work activities, including
- the selection of competent people, equipment, and materials
- the way work is done
- how goods and services are designed and provided
Writing down the safety statement and putting in place the organization and arrangements needed to implement and monitor it shows to staff, and anyone else, that hazards have been identified and risks assessed, eliminated or controlled.