How To Do a Risk Assessment: Free Complete Guide

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Written by: SafeWorkforce
17th August

Here is our free comprehensive Risk Assessment Guide. Whether you're a business owner, project manager, or safety officer, mastering risk assessment is crucial for maintaining safety. This Risk Assessment guide offers a step-by-step approach to identify and mitigate potential hazards effectively.

What is a risk assessment?

A risk assessment is a process of identifying and evaluating potential dangers, which helps businesses make informed decisions to manage and reduce their risks.

Why do you need to complete a risk assessment?

  1. Comply with legislation: You are required by law to complete a risk assessment under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  2. Identify risks: Risk assessments will help your business identify where problems and dangers may occur
  3. Be prepared: By completing a risk assessment, your business will be more prepared when a problem occurs
  4. Safety first: Risk assessments allow your business to prioritise safety measures and precautions to minimise the risk of accidents

What are the benefits of completing a risk assessment?

  1. Prevents accidents and injuries by creating a safer working environment 
  2. Protecting your employees and anyone that visits your workplace premises or site
  3. Minimise the risk of financial and reputational losses
  4. Improves efficiency through the implementation of preventative measures

When do you need to complete a risk assessment?

A risk assessment should be completed before undertaking an activity that could result in harm or damage. These are the most common instances where a risk assessment is necessary:

  • Before starting a new project or activity 
  • If you’ve made changes to an existing process
  • When there is a legal requirement to comply with Health and Safety Regulations
  • To demonstrate positive workplace safety and a safe working culture 

Do risk assessments need to be signed?

In most cases, you will need to sign your risk assessment. The signature implies that you’ve reviewed, approved, and accepted the responsibilities highlighted within the risk assessment.

Who is authorised to sign a risk assessment?

Generally, the person that signs the risk assessment should have the authority and the appropriate knowledge to review and approve the risk assessment.


Do you have a competent person in place to review the risk assessment?

Don’t worry; SafeWorkforce can act as your competent person and support your business through a risk assessment.

What are the 5 stages of a risk assessment?

There are typically 5 steps when completing a risk assessment that you should follow to ensure compliance:

Step 1: Identification of hazards 

Step 2: Evaluate the risk

Step 3: Determine safety measures

Step 4: Implementation

Step 5: Review and monitoring 

How do you evaluate the level of risk?

Some businesses use scoring systems when completing a risk assessment, but this is unnecessary and a simple ‘Low, Medium or High’ will usually suffice.

  • Low Risk: Minor impacts/ damage which is quickly repaired
  • Medium Risk: Moderate impact with partial loss of operations
  • High Risk: Disaster with very serious consequences 

How often should you review a risk assessment?

The frequency can vary depending on several factors, such as; the nature of the activity, the potential risk involved, and whether you’ve implemented changes to a process. We recommend reviewing your risk assessment annually.

How do you identify a risk?

Here are a few steps to help your business identify potential risks before completing a risk assessment:

  • Research - collect all available information about the activity or process.
  • Speak to your team - collecting information from people familiar with the activities may provide a different perspective on the potential risks
  • Checklist - use a risk assessment checklist to ensure you’ve considered the possible risks
  • Speak to the expert - they’ll be able to provide in-depth knowledge that may not be available within your business

Remember - While going through this process, your goal is to identify as many potential risks as you can, even if they seem unlikely to happen.


Unsure if you’ve identified all the risks?

Don’t worry; our team of health and safety experts can complete an audit of your premises and processes to identify potential risks.

How do you determine what safety measures need to be implemented?

Utilising the hierarchy of contracts can provide a great framework when deciding the appropriate safety measures you need to implement. This hierarchy includes:

  • Elimination: Completely removing the hazard or risk 
  • Substitution: Replacing the hazardous elements with a safer alternative 
  • Engineering Control: Designing the environment or equipment to minimise the risk
  • Administrative Controls:  Implementing policies, procedures, training, and guidelines to manage the risk
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):  Providing your team with the correct protective equipment to reduce the risk to individuals 

Top tips when implementing a risk assessment procedure?

We recommend taking these steps when implementing a new procedure after completing a risk assessment:

  • Create an action plan - Your action plan should include the changes that need implementing and the tasks, responsibilities, timeline, and resources required to ensure the implementation is successful
  • Make a priority list - You may find there is a long list of actions following a risk assessment, so make sure you create a priority list based on the severity and likelihood of risk
  • Engage your team - Make sure you bring your team and stakeholders on the journey with clear communication; their input and cooperation are crucial for success
  • Provide Training - Training your team on the new procedures or equipment will ensure that everyone understands their responsibilities and how to implement the changes successfully
  • Encourage feedback - Create an environment where individuals feel comfortable providing feedback, as this will help identify issues early and improve the implementation process

Need help to engage your employees?

Our team of health and safety experts has a wealth of experience supporting businesses to ensure compliance is at the top of everyone’s agenda.

What documentation do you need?

You’ll be happy to know, there aren’t masses of paperwork involved when completing a risk assessment. It can be as simple as completing a standard risk assessment form for generic activities or processes.