Reporting and managing hazards is a fundamental responsibility of all business owners and operators. In the UK, if you’re an employer, you're required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm.
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (UK government regulations), the minimum you must do is:
In this article, we’re going to look in detail at the Risk Memo Hazard Report & Risk Assessment form as a means to demonstrate the risk management process. The form itself, available to Risk Memo users for free in our checklist template library, is designed for employees to perform a dynamic risk assessment from their phone to report single safety hazards so that management can take further action.
If you're looking for a generic risk assessment or a basic risk assessment template to log identified risks, we recommend that you use the HSE templates that you can download here. However, in this article, we're going to demonstrate why a digital system, like Risk Memo, is now best practice in comparison to paper-based forms and the free templates you can access on UK Gov websites.
Aside from the preventive measures themselves, perhaps the most crucial part of a risk management plan is an effective reporting system. Equally important is that this system is easy-to-use and available to all employees so that they are able to report operational risks as soon as they become aware of them. The more eyes and ears you have on the lookout for hazards, after all, the greater chance there is of spotting them. On the other hand, if your system is long and complicated, your team is going to be less inclined to use it.
If you are operating in a relatively low risk environment with common hazards, a simple chat group dedicated to workplace safety can be an excellent way to encourage your team to take a proactive approach. This simple reporting system has the advantage of being easily accessible, as well as being digital, allowing for photos and videos and not just text, as would be the case with a paper form.
However, if you are operating in a high risk environment, you will likely need to formalise the risk assessment process with your team to ensure that you are taking all reasonable measures to prevent workplace injuries. This is where risk assessment tools such as Risk Memo come in.
With the Risk Memo app and free Hazard Report & Risk Assessment template, your team will be able to complete a detailed risk assessment form from their phone and instantly provide your health & safety officer or safety executive with a detailed report. Yes, this could be done with a paper form, but you will see from the details of our risk assessment template below, that there are many advantages to a digital system.
However, even if you're not a Risk Memo user, this run-through of our hazard report & risk assessment template will still act as a good guide to what should be included.
The first section of this report is to provide a detailed description of the hazard. This typically is a brief text description of the hazard, but with Risk Memo we can add other types of information, such as:
The consequences of an incident occurring can be difficult to predict and describe, which is why it’s best to standardise the response. A common practice is a risk assessment matrix, where numerical values of 1 to 5 are assigned to the likelihood and severity to provide an overall level of risk. An employee doesn't necessarily need to know this scoring system, so we simply ask the required questions and standardise the responses as follows:
For every hazard, we need to identify who might be harmed as this will affect our response, for example, if the general public is at risk, solutions such as PPE will not be possible. We have used a multiple-choice question with the following responses, to which the user can select one or multiple options;
The first measure of the risk matrix comes from an assessment of the likelihood, for example, 1 being extremely unlikely to 5 being almost certain. Your employees' experience and expertise is the most important factor when answering this question. In the Risk Memo template, we again use a multiple-choice question but in this case, only allow one option to be selected.
Likely injury severity forms the second measure of our risk assessment matrix, with 1 being "Minor", and 5 being "Fatal". As with the previous questions, we use a multiple-choice question to standardise the response.
The final question in this section of the Risk Memo template is to provide a risk level value, considering all of the information we’ve gathered up until this point. The response here can be as simple as, “low”, “medium” and “high”, or if your team is familiar with the risk matrix system, they can enter the risk matrix score. For example, if their response was "unlikely" (2) and "Severe" (3), the risk matrix score is calculated as 6 out of a possible 25 and therefore in the medium risk level range.
This section is to document the actions that have been implemented or that you intend to implement to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. These control measures are down to your and your team’s knowledge and expertise. If control measures have yet to be implemented, you must also include an implementation plan to ensure that a) the risk is managed whilst a permanent solution is being implemented, and b) confirms that the permanent solution has actually been completed.
With Risk Memo, control measures are documented in a repeating section - a section of the checklist that can be appended multiple times - so that you can dynamically add as many control measures as required. In this repeating section are the following questions:
Perhaps the biggest advantage of a purpose build system such as Risk Memo is the built-in task management system, which in this case is perfectly suited as an implementation plan. With the Risk Memo app, you can attach notes, evidence images and actions to any of the questions within this report, which is ideal for keeping track of incomplete control measures.
For example, in our template, we give instructions to attach evidence images to the question "Has the control measure been implemented?" if the response is yes, and to assign actions if the response is no.
A review section does not need to be overly complicated and can simply consist of the name, date and signature of the person/s responsible. In our template, we also ask a few other questions to prompt the correct consideration of the control measures in the report:
Whether it's a paper form that captures the core information described above or a system like Risk Memo that automates it all for you, hopefully, this article has helped guide you on how to perform a detailed and effective risk assessment and avoid a worst-case scenario incident.
If you would like to learn more about the Risk Memo app and this Hazard Report & Risk Assessment Template, click the chat widget at the bottom right of this page to schedule a demo.
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