10 Reasons Why Workplace Risk Assessments are Important
Workplace risk assessments are something that most of us have come across at some point in our working lives, whether we have worked with them directly or not. It is quite clear why risk assessments are so important, and it is evident that they help to minimise risks in the workplace. The key to a risk assessment is identifying a risk and putting procedures into place to reduce that risk turning into a hazard. On top of this, there are many other reasons why risk assessments are important, and this blog explores 10 reasons why workplace risk assessments are important for any business.
1. They’re a legal requirement
One of the main impetus behind completing relevant risk assessments is that they’re a legal requirement. Whilst it is an expenditure in terms of both time and money, without a completed document that identifies risks within your workplace you could face serious legal ramifications that will have a huge impact on your business. Completing credible documents that highlight risks and identifies how they’re being managed will keep you in line with legal requirements. It is worth considering hiring a consultant to help with your risk assessment. A consultant will have the knowledge and experience required to ensure your risk assessment is legally correct. If you do choose to complete your workplace risk assessments without the help of professionals, the HSE provides useful information that can help you write a risk assessment.
2. Keep your staff injury-free and safe
A key reason why workplace risk assessments are important is that they keep your staff safe and free from injuries. Whilst there is a professional expectation that all employees should adhere to when within the workplace when it is clearly highlighted what is expected from employees through documentation, risks can be avoided or eliminated. Keeping staff safe is so important, and by doing so you can avoid any unwanted accidents that could lead to a valued employee getting injured.
3. Helps with staff motivation
Whilst it may seem to be a daunting task that doesn’t really provide a company with anything more than paperwork, a risk assessment can actually help motivate staff. They provide reassurance for staff and let them know that they are safe within the working environment. This will most likely heighten productivity because concerns around risks and safety are reduced. This, over time, improves performance which will be reflected in your targets and results.
4. Keeps your environment and equipment safe
As a company owner, you have no doubt invested a lot of time and money into your workplace buildings and equipment. A workplace risk assessment will help protect these assets by highlighting the safest ways to behave when in a specific environment or using a certain piece of equipment. Without a risk assessment, equipment or areas of a building can become damaged because of improper practice. A simple, yet an important risk assessment is shelf and racking safety. Whilst it might seem obvious not to overload a shelf or racking, without an assessment that highlights what an overloaded shelf or racking looks like (i.e. weight requirements, item stacking), this could be overlooked. If this is not assessed and an incident does happen, the shelf could fall which could result in damage, or worse – an injury within the workplace. A risk assessment for a shelf or racking may identify that you require new shelving and racking to keep the area safe. In this case, a risk assessment has benefited your business and has identified an issue that needs improving.
5. Helps with future employment
A well-written risk assessment for a work environment or piece of equipment (warehouse and forklift for example) can help when you are employing new recruits. An experienced candidate will know the risks that he/she faces when in the workplace and will be on the lookout to check that you are providing a safe working environment. Without risk assessments that demonstrate that you are taking the required precautions, you could miss out on a new employee who could have made a positive impact to your business.
6. Great for word of mouth publicity
It might not be an operational reason to conduct a risk assessment, but solid workplace risk assessments can create positive publicity. They do this by keeping employees safe. A safe employee will feel comfortable at work, which will be reflected in the way they talk about the workplace to people outside of the business. Without a well-documented risk assessment, incidents can happen, no matter how big or small. Once an incident happens, people become curious and start to talk. If rumours were to spread that an incident has happened and that the risk assessment wasn’t meeting the standards expected by the Health and Safety Executive, your company could be open to negative publicity.
7. Provides a better service for the customer
Believe it or not, a well-written risk assessment will improve the service you provide for your customer. Whether you provide a product or service for the public or for businesses, making sure your risk assessment is completed to a high standard will ensure that your customer is provided with the very best customer service. It reduces risks that could happen to the product and prevents any unfortunate accidents that could happen whilst providing a service. A simple example is using a ladder. If a risk assessment identifies the risks that could happen whilst climbing a ladder, accidents such as dropping equipment can be avoided. How does this affect the customer? By using the ladder safely, no equipment is damaged, which means the service you provide can continue without any disruption. If equipment gets damages, delays can occur, which can have an overall impact on the customer’s satisfaction.
8. Can save you money in the long term
Risk assessments are not only designed to ensure people remain safe and injury-free. They’re designed to ensure equipment is being used correctly to prevent hazards. A risk assessment can reduce and, in some cases, eliminate damages to tools and equipment. Using the ladder example again, by ensuring the ladder is safe to use and that equipment is being carried up / down safely, you prevent the risk of items being dropped and thus broken. This will save you money when it comes to replacing tools or equipment that is dropped and broken.
9. Identifies new items and equipment your business may require
The great thing about risk assessments is that they identify where you may require improvements in areas of your business. Improvements can increase productivity which is a way of making sure employees are meeting their set KPIs. A very simple example of where this can increase productivity is through identifying a risk that can be avoided through the purchase of a specific piece of equipment. Take heavy boxes for example. Whilst they can be lifted from the ground and carried by foot, this is a cumbersome task which can result in a risk if an employee uses improper posture and performance. By introducing equipment such as a sack truck, the risks associated with carrying heavy equipment is reduced. Whilst a risk assessment is also required for equipment such as a sack truck, the reduced risks and benefits gained from this new piece of equipment will benefit your company in the long run.
10. Provides peace of mind for management and owners
A good risk assessment can provide peace of mind that your business and employees are working in a safe and risk-free way. It is a proven way of preventing risks from becoming hazards. By stopping a hazard becoming a reality, you avoid injuries to your employees which means areas of your business can continue to work efficiently without any disruption. This is a fantastic thing to know when you manage workers in a company and provides peace of mind through reassurance.
Ultimately, a risk assessment must be completed. If you run the risk of not completing a risk assessment, you are in fact breaking the law. By taking each of these points into consideration, you can clearly see that there are multiple good reasons why workplace risk assessments are important. IDH Direct specialises in providing equipment and tools that reduce risks and hazards in the workplace. If you are currently completing a risk assessment and are facing any difficulties, we are available to help. With years of experience providing equipment that improves safety in the workplace, we can provide advice when it comes to identifying risks and can make suggestions on how you can reduce risk.