HSE Revision to Guidance on Risk Assessment

BACK 17-10-2016

HSE Revision to Guidance on Risk Assessment

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a revised draft version of its guidance on risk assessment, asking for comments through a short questionnaire before it is finalised.

The revisions stem from concerns of the health and safety watchdog 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”.

The HSE is keen to emphasise that the risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork but rather identifying sensible measures to control the risks in the workplace.

As a result, the HSE wants to put more emphasis on controlling risk and less on written assessments, without reducing standards.

With the aim of clarifying to businesses that risk assessment should be part of day-to-day business management, the HSE says the risk assessment can be part of an existing business document, such as:

  • the workplace “housekeeping” rules
  • manufacturers’ instructions
  • training materials
  • method statements
  • safety data sheets.

The crucial issue is to ensure that the way the significant findings are recorded helps manage risk well.

The HSE has now highlighted the proposed changes in its core leaflet Risk Assessment: A Brief Guide to Controlling Risks in the Workplace (INDG163) which was last updated in 2014, and the safety watchdog is asking for comments on if:

  • the changes are helpful
  • it is clear that it is not necessary to keep a special “risk assessment” document
  • it is clear that other documents already in use can fulfil the same purpose
  • people think this new approach will work in practice and whether it would save time.

The questionnaire and draft guidance can be accessed on the HSE website.