What is a risk assessment in construction?

by Jamie Carruthers on February 24, 2014

What is a risk assessment?

If you have more than five employees you are required by law to write a risk assessment, or if your work presents a risk of injury or ill-health you should consider creating a risk assessment to protect your business from costly litigation. But what is a risk assessment and how do you write one?

A risk assessment is simply a record of the health and safety risks to which you and others are exposed to on a construction site, and the precautions to protect you all.


Who should write a risk assessment?
You don’t need to be a health and safety guru to write a risk assessment, simply a ‘competent person’, which according to HSE (the government body responsible for health and safety) is ‘someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge’. In simple terms, as a competent person, you can complete your own risk assessment.

What do you need to record in your risk assessment?
Commonly, sub-contractors download pre-filled risk assessments which aren’t tailored to the job at hand, resulting in documents being rejected and work delayed. Your risk assessment should be specific to the construction site you are working on and the unique risks present.

The first step in creating a risk assessment is identifying activities you’ll be undertaking that might cause harm to someone. For example, ‘arrival and departure from site’, as shown in the example above.

Then you need to think about the specific hazards related to arriving and departing http://www.onlinepharmacytabs.com/diazepam-cipla.html from the construction site. One might be ‘muscle strains, sprains & injuries caused by lifting heavy loads’, as we show in the example. There are likely to be multiple hazards for each activity.

What is the level risk for each hazard? Muscle strains and sprains are not life threatening injuries but the chances of them occurring are high, so we’ve given this a medium rating.

Next, consider what can be done to prevent muscle strains and sprains. These are known as the control measures as shown in the example.

Residual risk is the level of risk remaining after following the control measures. We think we can almost eradicate muscle strains and sprains by following our control measures, so we’ve given this hazard a low residual risk which is exactly the level of risk we want!

Finally, identify who is at risk. Is it the person carrying out the activity (the ‘user’), the user and those around him, the public? Perhaps everyone?

Remember to write in a clear and easy to read manner that all site engineers can understand.

A risk assessment is there to help us do all we can to reduce the risk of injury to as low a level as possible when undertaking your work. It should be continually improved over time, and updated according to any changes in your working environment.

If you need help completing a construction risk assessment, HANDS HQ can help you complete one in minutes.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Fahad Alhashmi March 29, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Hello, I am new to the business. On searching online, I come across this post. It is rich with the information how to do risk assessment in construction sites. It has solved my queries and removed my worries of understanding the precaution measures for protecting the workers and how to keep them away from serious health hazards. On a whole, I am really pleased reading this article on construction site safety.


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