A risk assessment is a systematic examination of work activities to identify what could go wrong and cause harm and whether adequate controls are in place. All staff and patients have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to implement reasonable control measures.
A risk assessment identifies the hazards (anything that can cause harm) and assesses the possible risks (the chance, big or small, of harm being done). Conducting risk assessments is a legal requirement for all employers and the self- employed to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all those who may be affected by their work activities.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require you to undertake an assessment of the risks in the workplace. Other specific regulations that require risk assessments to be carried out are referred to in the advice. Separate BDA advice is available on radiation protection.
Key learning points
This advice describes your obligations under health and safety law to conduct risk assessments. It will help you to:
- Develop a structured approach to identifying and managing the hazards present in your practice
- Identify and manage exposure to hazardous substances, using resources that should be readily available
- Adopt safe working practices for those whose work involves regular use of display (computer) screens
- Take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of fire within the practice
- Make adequate arrangements for work experience students, young workers and employees who are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding.