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HSE SEEK RISK ASSESSMENT FLEXIBILITY & SIMPLICITY

Proposed change to guidance could produce bonfire of ‘paperwork’

HSE is looking to change its current guidance on risk assessment and is seeking public views before the amended guidance is published.

The regulator is concerned that many people see the requirement to record significant findings of a risk assessment as “something separate from other things they do to manage their business”.  However, HSE stress that risk assessment should be part of day-to-day business management and the risk assessment can be part of an existing business document e.g. :

  • Workplace ‘housekeeping’ rules
  • Manufacturers’ instructions
  • Training materials
  • Method statements
  • Safety data sheets

The regulator adds that risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork – it is about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace. HSE wants to put more emphasis on controlling risk and less on written assessments, without reducing standards adding:

“The main thing is to make sure the way you record your significant findings helps you manage risk well.”

Myth Buster panel set for further work?

HSE has highlighted the proposed changes in the existing core leaflet Risk assessment: A brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace. The proposed change states:

“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 than the law requires. Ask if you are not sure (it might be, for instance, to defend any compensation claims). One way of checking if you are being asked to go beyond what the law requires, is to contact HSE’s Myth Buster Challenge Panel (www.hse.gov.uk/myth).”

Answer the questionnaire on changes to risk management guidance

HSE want to know if:

  • you find these changes helpful?
  • it is clear that you do not need to keep a special ‘risk assessment’ document?
  • it is clear that other documents you already have can do the same thing?
  • you think this works in practice and whether it would save you time?
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