Risk Assessment for Small Building Companies
If you own a small to medium construction company, chances are that you’re having to be very hands-on and do a lot of the work yourself. Whether you employ other or you’re a one man band, as an employer or a self-employed person, you are the one who’s responsible for health and safety in your business. One of the vital aspects of health and safety in the workplace is the risk assessment. Even if you have staff to whom you can delegate this task, you are the one who is ultimately responsible for the health and safety of your staff, yourself and any passers-by, so you will need to make sure that the person who carries out the risk assessment is competent to do so.
Although you don’t need any specific training or qualifications to carry out a risk assessment, you do need to have the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to manage health and safety. This means that as a business owner you can appoint one or a combination of the following:
· One or more of your staff members
· Somebody from outside your business
If neither you nor your staff have sufficient experience or knowledge you need to either undergo the necessary training or call in outside help. You’ll also need extra help if the risks are complex and you can check out the Occupational Safety and Health Consultant’s Register to find somebody to help you and your business with this.
Consultation with your staff is vital during the risk assessment process – they will have useful insights and information about how the work is done which will help you to understand the risks involved. Significant risks that you may be faced with will be those that are not trivial in nature and could create a real risk to health and safety which any reasonable person would appreciate and would take steps to guard against. What would be considered as an “insignificant” risk will vary from site to site and activity to activity, depending on the specific circumstances.
There is no legal requirement for the risk assessment to be signed nor is there any set time that you need to keep your risk assessment records. However, it represents good practice to keep all of your risk assessments while they are relevant so that they are readily available should you need to refer to them.
Your workplace may change over time with new equipment, materials and procedures being introduced. There may be technological advances in your industry that leads to change. Any of these issues will mean that your risk assessment is no longer be valid and will need to be reviewed.
If the circumstances of one or more of your employees change (or when you hire new employees), you’ll need to review your risk assessment to ascertain whether you need to make any changes in the measures you adopt to control risk. For example, if you have people returning to work following surgery or an illness, if an employee develops a disability, even if an employee becomes pregnant, you may need to make adjustments to the workplace to deal with this, so the risk assessment will need to be reviewed.