Risk Assessments, all paperwork or a valuable safety tool?
Some recent prosecutions have underpinned the Britrisk belief that risk assessments must be task and site specific, simple in structure and always readily accessible to those carrying out the work. They must be reviewed regularly but only changed if something has happened to require it e.g. a dangerous incident, a change in the workplace, a change of equipment or a change of work practice. There is also concern that some tasks, particularly those high risk tasks involving work equipment or working at height, need an agreed method statement to go with the risk assessment to further reduce the risk of an accident.
A weakness identified in the public amenity sector is that risk assessments and method statements (RAMS) fail to assess the risks to bystanders. The effective use of signs, barriers and clearly marked safety exclusion zones when working in public places are vital but even this may require additional staff ’on the ground’ in busy areas e.g. pavements, parks, car parks and busy public estates