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Risk Assessments- why failing to carry out proper risk assessments is risky business.

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HSE in the news

The HSE published an article earlier this month that detailed a £400,000 fine for a chemicals company in Scotland. An employee of the company was seriously injured during a routine inspection task at one of its sites.

The employee fell into a sump that contained caustic solution due to inadequate grating and sustained severe burn injuries. It took just 3 seconds for his leg to burn, leading to permanent scarring and a recovery time or over 4 weeks.

The company was fined because it failed to carry out a risk assessment of the work involved.

Although this is a particularly high-risk environment, it highlights how important risk assessments are- and moreover, how quickly risks can become accidents.

What applies to me?

Following the Health and Safety Act 1974, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued mandatory employer obligations for all companies in the UK, whether they are deemed as high-risk or not. These have been updated to include things like protective clothing, workstations and facilities for employees. It is something that the HSE takes extremely seriously.

In our recent blog which you can read here, we set out the minimum requirements for all businesses, including those who are micro businesses. The Health and Safety Executive details 9 key areas where employers have responsibility for their employees, which includes those working from home, contractors, visitors, members of the public and travelling employees.

Why are the regulations in place?

The regulations are in place to prevent accident and injury at work and also help to improve working condition so that businesses and their employees enjoy safe and productive working conditions.

What are the benefits of proper risk assessment and management?

Risk assessments are more than a tick box exercise- the benefits to a business are huge. Here are five reasons to manage and mitigate risk:

#1 Employee Safety

Risk assessments help identify hazards in the workplace that could potentially harm employees, customers, or visitors. By identifying these hazards, businesses can take appropriate measures to eliminate or mitigate them, thus reducing the risk of accidents, injuries, or even fatalities. This not only protects employees but also fosters a safer and more productive work environment.


2# Financial Savings

Implementing effective risk management practices can help businesses save money in the long run. By identifying and addressing risks early on, companies can prevent costly accidents, property damage, and legal liabilities. Additionally, having a robust risk management system in place may lead to lower insurance premiums, as insurers often offer better rates to businesses with proactive risk management strategies.


#3 Protecting Reputation & Building Trust

A business’s reputation can be severely affected by incidents such as accidents, environmental damage, or product failures. By conducting thorough risk assessments and implementing appropriate controls, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to safe and responsible business practices. This helps build trust with customers, investors, regulators, and the public, safeguarding the company’s reputation and brand image.


#4 Business Continuity

Risk assessments play a crucial role in identifying potential threats to business continuity, such as supply chain disruptions, cyber-attacks, or natural disasters. By understanding these risks and developing contingency plans, businesses can minimize the impact of such events and maintain operations during challenging times. This resilience is essential for long-term success and sustainability.


#5 Regulatory Compliance

In addition to health and safety regulations, businesses in the UK must comply with various other laws and regulations, such as environmental regulations, data protection laws, and industry-specific standards. Conducting risk assessments helps ensure compliance with these requirements by identifying potential areas of non-compliance and enabling businesses to take corrective actions.


Robust risk assessments are essential for businesses in the UK to ensure legal compliance, protect employee safety, save costs, preserve reputation, maintain business continuity, and meet regulatory requirements. By proactively identifying and managing risks, businesses can enhance their overall resilience and competitiveness in the market, which is better business all round we say! |

How Simply Learning Can Help

Simply Learning are launching a new IOSH managing Safely course for the first time online in May which covers risk assessments and how to manage them effectively in the workplace.

To find out more and book, click here or for more information about how Simply Learning can help your business or tailor support for your industry, contact our friendly and experienced team.