5 Step Process of Risk Assessment

5 Step Process of Risk Assessment
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5 Step Process of Risk Assessment


Risk assessment is a systematic process of evaluating potential risks that could be involved in a projected activity or undertaking. It’s a vital part of workplace safety, ensuring that hazards are identified, risks are evaluated, and appropriate measures are implemented to protect employees and assets. Understanding and implementing a thorough risk assessment process can significantly reduce workplace accidents and ensure compliance with health and safety regulations.

Step 1: Identify the Hazards

Definition of Hazard

A hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm. This can include physical objects, substances, or activities that pose a risk to health and safety.

Methods for Identifying Hazards

There are several methods to identify hazards in the workplace:

  • Inspections: Regular workplace inspections can help spot potential hazards.
  • Employee Feedback: Employees are often aware of the hazards they face and can provide valuable insights.
  • Review of Incident Reports: Analyzing past incidents can help identify recurring hazards.

Examples of Common Hazards

Some common workplace hazards include:

  • Physical Hazards: Such as machinery, noise, and electricity.
  • Chemical Hazards: Including exposure to harmful substances.
  • Biological Hazards: Such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.
  • Ergonomic Hazards: Related to the design of workstations and tasks.

Step 2: Decide Who Might Be Harmed and How

Identifying Affected Individuals

It’s crucial to determine who might be at risk from identified hazards. This includes:

  • Employees: Those directly involved in the tasks.
  • Contractors: External personnel working on-site.
  • Visitors: Anyone who may enter the workplace.

Assessing How They Might Be Harmed

Understanding the potential impact on these individuals is key. Consider:

  • Nature of Harm: Physical injury, health conditions, stress.
  • Extent of Harm: Temporary, permanent, or fatal.

Vulnerable Groups Considerations

Some groups may be more vulnerable to certain hazards:

  • Young Workers: Less experienced and more prone to accidents.
  • Pregnant Women: May require special considerations.
  • Individuals with Disabilities: May need specific accommodations.

Step 3: Evaluate the Risks and Decide on Precautions

Risk Evaluation Process

Evaluate the likelihood and severity of each hazard. This involves:

  • Probability: How likely is the hazard to cause harm?
  • Impact: What could be the potential consequences?

Determining the Severity of Risks

Assess the severity based on:

  • Health Impact: Minor injuries, serious health conditions, fatalities.
  • Operational Impact: Disruption to operations, financial losses.

Choosing Appropriate Precautions

Decide on measures to mitigate identified risks. These might include:

  • Engineering Controls: Physical changes to reduce risk.
  • Administrative Controls: Policies and procedures to minimize risk.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Providing suitable protective gear.

Step 4: Record Your Findings and Implement Them

Importance of Documentation

Documenting the findings ensures that there is a clear record of the risk assessment process and decisions made.

Methods for Recording Findings

Use formats such as:

  • Risk Assessment Forms: Detailed forms that capture all aspects of the risk assessment.
  • Digital Tools: Software solutions that streamline the process.

Implementing the Precautions

Put the chosen precautions into practice. This might involve:

  • Training: Ensuring all staff understand the new measures.
  • Monitoring: Regular checks to ensure measures are effective.

Step 5: Review Your Assessment and Update If Necessary

Importance of Regular Reviews

Regularly reviewing the risk assessment ensures it remains relevant and effective.

Triggers for Updating Assessments

Update the risk assessment when there are:

  • Changes in the Workplace: New equipment, processes, or personnel.
  • Incidents: Accidents or near-misses that highlight new hazards.
  • Regulatory Changes: Updates in laws or guidelines.

How to Conduct an Effective Review

An effective review should:

  • Reassess Hazards: Ensure all current hazards are still relevant.
  • Evaluate Control Measures: Check if current measures are still effective.
  • Engage Staff: Involve employees in the review process.


Risk assessment is an ongoing process crucial for maintaining a safe workplace. By following these five steps—identifying hazards, determining who might be harmed, evaluating risks, recording findings, and regularly reviewing the assessment—organizations can create a safer environment for everyone involved. Continuous improvement and engagement with the workforce are key to effective risk management.

Hazard Communication

Risk Assessment Steps NEBOSH

Risk Assessment Steps

Hazard Communication: Elements and SDS Importance

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA): Identifying and Eliminating Worksite Risks


What are the main types of hazards?

The main types of hazards include physical, chemical, biological, and ergonomic hazards.

How often should risk assessments be reviewed?

Risk assessments should be reviewed regularly, at least annually, or whenever there are significant changes in the workplace or incidents occur.

Who is responsible for conducting risk assessments?

Employers are responsible for ensuring risk assessments are conducted, but they can delegate the task to competent individuals or teams.

What tools can help with risk assessments?

Tools such as digital risk assessment software, checklists, and industry guidelines can aid in conducting thorough risk assessments.

Can employees contribute to the risk assessment process?

Yes, employees can provide valuable insights and feedback, making the risk assessment process more comprehensive and effective.


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