The 5 Steps to a Risk Assessment

The 5 Steps to a Risk Assessment Midlands Health and Safety Consultancy

There is a requirement that all activities that pose significant risks should have a risk assessment carried out and this is a crucial part of any organisation’s health and safety strategy. It is recommended that you adopt the 5 steps to risk assessment approach.

The steps are:

  • Identify the hazards.
  • Identify people who might be harmed and how they might be harmed.
  • Evaluate the risks and decide on appropriate, proportionate controls.
  • Record finding and implement.
  • Review the assessment and update where necessary.


Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps…

Identify the hazards

The first step in a risk assessment is to identify and recognise potential hazards or dangers present in a particular situation or environment. Workplace hazards can come in many forms, such as  physical, mental, chemical, and biological, to name just a few. Hazards can be identified by using a number of techniques, although, one of the most common remains walking around the workplace to see first-hand any processes, activities, or substances that may injure or cause harm to employees.

Identify people who may be harmed

Identifying who may be at risk extends to full and part-time employees, contract staff, visitors, clients, and other members of the public at the workplace.You should also consider people that may not be in the office all the time or at different times, such as employees working night shifts for example, and lone workers.For each hazard you will need to understand who may be harmed, this of course, will help you to identify preventive measures for controlling a given risk.

Evaluate the risks

Now you’ve determined what the risks are, and which ones need to be addressed first, you can start considering what control measures you can use to mitigate risk. Control or safety measures are any form of action; whether it be training, the use of equipment, or the removal of a hazard, which reduces the risk a hazard poses.

Suitable control measures are chosen by applying the hierarchy of control which consists of –

  • Elimination
  • Substitution
  • Engineering Controls
  • Administrative Controls
  • PPE


It is of course better to remove hazards entirely where possible, however this is not always practical. In these frequent cases you have to select the most effective and practical control measure to reduce the risk a hazard poses.

Recording findings

The HSE recommend that you should record your significant findings. Such findings will include, the hazards, how people may be harmed by them, and essentially the control measures that you have implemented.It’s worth highlighting that currently only organisations with five or more staff are required to record in writing the findings of a given risk assessment, regardless, it’s still good practice to have a reference.

Review the assessment

Workplaces are constantly changing, and new hazards are likely to arise. Over time, you may find that the procedures you have put in place haven’t been effective, and that more still needs to be done to control risk.

Therefore, it is important to regularly review your risk assessments and controls. A review should also be conducted in the event of an incident to understand how it occurred and if there is anything you can do to prevent it happening again.

For further information on how we an help and assist with The 5 Steps to a Risk Assessment, please contact us here.


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