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Why is Risk Assessment Important

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  • 29-09-2021
Why is Risk Assessment Important

Find out why risk assessment is importance in construction? We look at when to perform a risk assessment and the  health and safety concerns that it addresses.

Why is Risk Assessment Important In Construction?

It is a legal requirement to perform risks assessments at construction sites regardless you are a company or a self-employed individual. If you are a company with five or more employees, you are legally required to record any findings through risk assessments. 

You shouldn't do risk assessments just as part of meeting legal requirements; they are essential precautions to make you and your employees safe, comfortable and happy. Suppose an employee suffers from a serious accident in the workplace. 

In that case, they are more likely to quit and prompt other workers to follow, especially if you have demonstrated a lack of concern for health and safety rules.

 Why Risk Assessment Is Importance In Construction?

Risk assessments are a core part of health and safety policies in the workplace. They are necessary to prevent accidents and other ill harm before it happens. The risk assessment process is often split into five steps, including identifying any hazards that could cause an injury, accidents or ill health. 

The likelihood of incidents occurring and their associated level of risk need to be analysed so that effective control measures can be implemented and monitored. Any significant findings through risk assessments must be well-communicated across all levels of the company. Through these steps, companies in the construction industry can ensure a safe work environment for the employees.

Every workplace environment will have hazards that could potentially cause harm or ill-health. From wet floors, exposure to hazardous substances, fire hazards, dangerous work equipment, and much more. 

Complete risk assessments are guaranteed to reduce the likelihood of any work-related injuries and ill-health. Through risk assessments, workers and others on-site will become more aware of identifying future hazards and risks and will become generally more educated on workplace health and safety.

Whilst Risk assessments primarily serve to protect your team from accidents; there is also the potential to save lives. Fatal accidents are the most apparent accidents to prevent. As an example, fire hazards have a high potential for fatalities. Employers also need to keep in mind the effects of long term exposure to certain chemicals, which can lead to potentially fatal conditions later on. 

Asbestos, in particular, is common in the workplace and extremely dangerous. Dangerous, highly skilled machinery can also cause fatal injuries for employees if misused. By doing proper risk analysis and assessment beforehand, lives can be saved, and employees will feel a lot safer in the workplace.

Injuries at work can be incredibly costly for a business. An injured employer will likely have to take time off work, depending on the business's healthcare structure. They may need to be paid whilst off work. Additionally, legal fees can quickly pile up if the affected individual(s) decides to make a claim. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is likely to get involved by contacting your business for investigation if they believe you are breaching health and safety laws, which could not only be costly in terms of fees but could present damage to your reputation. A bad reputation will affect your customer base, and you may struggle to take on new employees.

If an accident occurs, the first question people ask is, "who's fault was this?". If your business is the one at fault due to poor health and safety procedures, then you could face significant legal troubles. It is not unusual for cases to reach tens of thousands of pounds in fees. 

Potentially of all of this could be avoided if proper risk assessments were in place and employees were taught good health and safety rules and procedures.

What Is A Construction Risk Assessment?

A construction risk assessment aims to identify the dangerous factors and potential hazards in construction projects. A typical risk assessment can be divided into the following three parts:

Identifying hazards

Analysing and evaluating risk

Controlling the risk

Apart from preventing injuries directly, risk assessments provide additional benefits. Some examples include:

Raising awareness in the workplace about health and safety
The ability to determine who at the workplace is at the most risk
Learn new ways to prevent and control hazards
Allows you to review your legal documentation

It can be challenging to know where to start with your risk assessments. By asking yourself questions, you can efficiently determine the actions or decisions that need to take place in your workplace. Here are some examples:

What circumstances could make this area dangerous?
Are we using this machinery properly?
What is the probability that someone could trip here?
Are we teaching all employees about how to use this tool?
Is there proper lighting in this room?

There any many valid types of risk assessments that companies from all industries can use to ensure the safety of their workers. Which one you use depends on the type of work your company needs to carry out.

WHAT IS A CONSTRUCTION RISK ASSESSMENT

Firstly there is a baseline risk assessment. This method involves establishing a benchmark of all potential hazards that are present on the construction site.

 The risks are then ranked according to their severity, and control systems will be put in place for risks that need them. 

A baseline risk assessment can be extremely thorough, and it will often include just about anything that could serve as a hazard in the workplace. 

It is also time-efficient as managers can focus primarily on higher-ranked risks instead of wasting time on minor issues that have a low chance of causing real danger.

Another method is a continuous risk assessment which is one that the employees perform at regular intervals. It often involves hazard awareness, such as reminding workers to stay alert and to inform superiors of any on-site issues. 

Checklists can be used at the start of each day to check employees are using the proper equipment and protection. Such checks could be done by a third party or a site manager.

Finally, there is the issue-based risk assessment. This particular method focuses on hazards associated with certain activities or tasks instead of risks that affect a construction project as a whole. Typically, this method is implemented after an initial baseline risk assessment to respond to specific risks identified in that assessment.

When To Perform Risk Assessment

As each construction site is different, there is no set structure for when you should perform risk assessments. However, you should always do one before any work or tasks are carried out, such as during the planning/design phase. After introducing a new process or method for a project, that could serve as a good time for a new risk assessment. 

For example, if new tools and equipment are introduced, a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the tools/equipment would typically benefit your employers as it would educate them and keep them safe. 

Additionally, through effective teaching of how to use equipment properly, the lifespan of the equipment will increase substantially.

After identifying a hazard or risk, that is another good time to review your risk assessments. 

As an example, after an unforeseen thunderstorm, a risk assessment could tell you there are several particularly slippery surfaces on-site.

WHEN TO PERFORM RISK ASSESSMENT London

You can then evaluate the threat level of the wet surfaces and implement safety measures accordingly and ensure that any employees that missed training due to being off sick are kept up to date with new safety policies and any relevant news when they get back to work.

Are you looking for advice on construction site risk assessment in London?  Our specialist architect offers construction risk assessments for Twickenham and the surrounding areas of London.

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