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Passing The ‘suitable And Sufficient’ Test In Risk Assessments

By Author: Sam Neal
Total Articles: 4

At a basic level, suitable and sufficient means that the risk assessment you carry out is reflective of the scale of the task and the documentation contains enough detail to allow the job to be carried out. This risk assessments webinar explains the concept in even greater detail for HSCE managers looking for in-depth guidance.

Think beyond safety

Health is sometimes the poor relation when it comes to Health and Safety. In the UK, we’re far better at managing safety than we are areas like ill health and damage. Make sure that your assessment is wide enough to cover health based issues, not just things that can cause injury. Stress, noise and vibration are all real concerns for your employees and you should be ensuring that you cover these areas in your risk assessment. Issues around wellbeing are often addressed elsewhere, but you have an opportunity to identify areas where staff wellbeing can be improved.

Don’t go overboard

While it may seem intuitive that the more detailed a risk assessment, the more comprehensive and better it is. That’s not always the case. It is no exaggeration to say that there are risk assessments for office use of Blu Tack or Pritt Stick that are nearly 10 pages! Size is not always indicative of suitability. Produce risk assessment documentation that is proportionate to the job and the risks.

To some it may seem like common sense, but in reality not every process and activity in your business needs to be risk assessed. For the purposes of your risk assessment, insignificant risks and everyday tasks associated with life in general can be ignored (unless your activities significantly increase that risk). Leaving things out of your risk assessment takes confidence and you shouldn’t be afraid of leaving these low risk areas out. Put your energy in to the real risks that your colleagues face because those are the things that are likely to cause serious harm.

Concentrate on the results

We carry out risk assessments because we want to make our businesses and workplaces safe and healthy places in which to work. Micro managing every operation, including changing printer toner and stapling documents can often undermine the objective. If nothing else, having to follow hundreds of procedures and wade through thousands of sheets of paper does little to reduce stress. Your risk assessment should be ‘suitable and sufficient’ for you to achieve your objective, but straightforward and easy to understand.

And don’t get bogged down in details, without documenting the ultimate goals of the procedures. If you create documentation without outlining your objectives then your assessments have neither context nor meaning. That is neither suitable nor sufficient.

EEF is the manufacturers’ organisation, serving the needs of the UK manufacturing and engineering industry. EEF provides campaigning, research, training and business services in a variety of areas, including the environment, health and safety, productivity, management and employment law. As a health and a href="http://www.eef.org.uk/training/health-and-safety"> health and safety , EEF offers courses, services and resources to help businesses ensure they are compliant and future-proofed.

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