Health & Safety Information Update

HSE proposes relaxed risk assessment recording

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) plans to update its basic tuide to risk assessment to allow duty holders to use documents such as safety data sheets as written evidence of an assessment.

The proposed change is part of the HSE's attempt to protect businesses from so-called "blue tape" in which principal contractors, customers, insurers or consultants insist on dedicated forms for all assessments.  The Executive plans to insert two new paragraphs in its leaflet INDG163: Risk Assessment: a brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace.

You may already have documents, such as guidance to employees (including HSE guidance), method statements, data sheets etc that can serve as your record.  You do not need to duplicate these.

Insurers and contractors may ask for more detailed paperwork that the law requires.  Ask if you are not sure (it might be, for instance, to defend any compensation claims).  One way of checking if your being asked to go beyond what the law requires, is to contact HSE's
Myth Buster Challenge Panel.

An easy way to record your findings is to use our
risk assessment template.

These suggest dutyholders should resist pressure to create unnecessary assessments and may contact its Myth Buster Challenge Panel if they are asked to exceed legal requirements.

On its website, the HSE says the requirement for employers with more than five employees to record significant risks can be satisfied in documents such as workplace housekeeping rules, manufacturers' instructions, training materials, method statements and safety data sheets for chemicals.

"A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork," said the HSE.  "It is about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace.  We want to put more emphasis on controlling risk and less on written assessments without reducing standards."

The reissue of INDG163 is expected early in 2017.

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