Health & Safety Risk assessments are a statutory requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, so it is essential that schools engage in this practice to remain compliant and ensure the safety of their students and employees.

What is a risk assessment?

A risk assessment is a process of identifying hazards, evaluating risks and controlling or eliminating those hazards during daily tasks and activities.

The next part of this process involves applying control measures to make sure employees and students, as well as any visitors to your site, are safe. Ultimately, you must take reasonable steps to prevent potential harm that you have identified during your assessments.

It is also required to keep a written record of all of your assessments.

How often should I carry out a risk assessment?

There are a few factors that determine how often you should conduct an assessment.

These include:

  • Internal incidents – if there’s an incident in your business, your competent person should look at how it happened and see if there are any gaps that need filling in your risk management program.
  • External incidents – if an incident happens outside of your organisation, you can use that as an opportunity to audit your current processes.
  • Process change – if you’ve evaluated your processes and decided something needs to change, it’s important to risk assess any new processes you put in their place.
  • New equipment – when you have new equipment, make sure you understand the potential hazards and risks of using it.
  • New employees – if you’ve got a new employee taking over a process or activity, it’s best practice to perform hazard identification before they begin.
  • New environment –  such as an office move? Is an employee working from height? If the environment of an activity changes, carry out a new risk assessment.
  • It is crucial to note that the effectiveness of risk assessment compliance depends on how well it is communicated to employees.

Southalls act as the competent person for their school clients and ‘do the doing’ in actually writing risk assessments for schools and reviewing these annual as a minimum or more frequently in the event of changes within the school.