Importance of Risk Assessments

Published: 19 Mar 2019

Risk assessments are a very important part of the H&S policy at site. They’re vital to be able to look at different risks on site and to be able to ensure that there is a control measure to reduce the risk to avoid an accident or incident occurring at site.

Recently we have heard of a case where a construction company was fined over £20,000 for not implementing risk assessments effectively at site.

On the 31st May 2017 Nathan Howes aged 26 was working on a refurbishment of a cricket club in West Yorkshire. Nathan was removing a ‘genie lift’ from the forks of a lift truck when he stepped backward and fell through an opening in the stairwell. He fell down a number of floors and sustained serious injuries including fractured spine, fractured skill and the collapse of one of his lungs.

This has meant that Nathan has not yet returned to work and is still attending physiotherapy.

After this incident the HSE investigated and found that the company Nathan worked for, Rivergate Development LTD did have risk assessments available, however, they had not been completed correctly. The risk assessments measure the gaps in the floor, however, did not put any controls in place to mitigate the risk or prevent the fall from happening.

Rivergate Development Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 and have been fined £20,000 and £1,020 in costs.

After the hearing the H&S inspector stated:

 “Fall from heights often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard.”

When carrying out risk assessments it is important to:

  • Ensure that there is a risk assessment for each hazard at site and that the risk assessments are site specific.
  • That there are adequate control measures implemented at site to reduce the chance of an accident or incident occurring.
  • With the measures in place the risk should be reduced and the risk rating reduced.
  • Ensure they are fully implemented at the site.
  • Staff trained in the risks at site and all the relevant risk assessments.
  • Reviewed on an annual basis or if an accident or incident occurs.

If you require any support around the management of risk assessments, please contact us where one of our consultants will be more than happy to assist.