Workplace risk assessments are required by law, and are a key element of managing health and safety.

However, all too often risk assessments are seen as an end in themselves, with more emphasis placed on the process of the assessment itself and the volume of paperwork, rather than acting on the risks identified.

The law does not require trivial risks to be written down, and nor does it require the assessments to be redone at specific intervals. The key things to remember about risk assessments are that they:

  • Should identify significant risks
  • Should lead to action to manage those risks
  • Should be reviewed periodically in the light of new equipment, processes or knowledge (e.g. of changes in H&S law, experience of accidents or near misses etc.)


An audit is similar to a risk assessment, but is generally wider in its scope and concentrates more on the effectiveness of the way safety is managed, and how things could be improved.

For larger or higher risk companies, an initial status audit is often the first step to identify and prioritise the main risks and to advise on its safety management systems. This audit will then, if required, form the basis on which further work is done to improve the way companies manage their risks.

If you would like to discuss a possible requirement for a risk assessment or a wider H&S Audit, then please contact Steve Thompson.