Risk Assessments and their Importance

Published: 7 Apr 2020

It is important to ensure that risk assessments are completed to cover all potential hazards on site, this must be documented if you have five or more employees.  As an employer, you’re required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm.  Do not just rely on the policy generic assessments; these need to be made site specific and additional assessments completed to cover any further hazards on your site.

Council fined £8,000 after golf course crash - Even local authorities are not exempt from this as seen in the news recently….

West Dunbartonshire Council has been fined following an incident at a golf course which left two workers with severe injuries.

The Council pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches after two men were thrown from a maintenance truck with no seatbelts or roll protection at the Golf Club.

The driver suffered a spinal injury after the 6×4 all-terrain vehicle rolled over him, and the passenger sustained serious leg injuries after it landed on top of him.

At Dumbarton Sheriff court, the council was fined £5,000 for failing to make a suitable risk assessment of the dangers and a further £3,000 for failing to protect the men by providing a substandard vehicle, leading to their severe injury.

The prosecution said “No risk assessment had been done in relation to this vehicle. There appears to have been no steps taken by the council to install seat belts or protection.”

The court also heard that the Council had two other vehicles on the golf course, both of which had protection in place.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum you must do is:

  • Identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards).
  • Decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk).
  • Take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk.
  • Assessing risk is just one part of the overall process used to control risks in your workplace.

What are the five steps to risk assessment?

  • Step 1: Identify hazards, i.e. anything that may cause harm.
  • Step 2: Decide who may be harmed, and how.
  • Step 3: Assess the risks and take action.
  • Step 4: Make a record of the findings.
  • Step 5: Review the risk assessment.

Risk assessments need to be reviewed at least annually or when there is:

  • A change in work practice.
  • A change in legislation.
  • A change of building design/ refurbishment or new operation introduced.
  • New equipment or substances/ chemicals are introduced.
  • An incident or accident
  • When management decides a review in necessary.


Training must be given to all staff on all risk assessments commensurate to that employee’s role on induction and on refresher training.  Staff must be shown and be made aware of the assessments as part of this.  Training must also be given for any new risk assessment that is introduced.


Failing to implement risk assessments and to remove/ reduce/ control the hazard and an incident/ accident occurs then you can be liable for criminal and civil prosecution.

Contact CSC for further guidance and see the HSE website for details: https://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/index.htm