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Risk Assessments & SSOW

Risk assessments are the cornerstone of risk management!

Construction Worker

Risk assessments are the cornerstone of risk management!

There are good reasons for this. If the risk assessment process – the start of the health and safety management approach – is not done well or not done at all, the appropriate preventive measures are unlikely to be identified or put in place.

Every year, almost 2 million people in the UK are injured at work, or have their health seriously harmed in the workplace. That is why risk assessment is so important, as the key to healthy workplaces. Risk assessment is a dynamic process that allows enterprises and organisations to put in place a proactive policy of managing workplace risks.

For these reasons, it is important that all types and sizes of enterprise carry out regular assessments. Proper risk assessment includes, among others things, making sure that all relevant risks are taken into account (not only the immediate or obvious ones), checking the efficiency of the safety measures adopted, documenting the outcomes of the assessment and reviewing the assessment regularly to keep it updated.

In the UK, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations section 3 impose a duty on employers to perform risk assessments:

“Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of—

(a)the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and

(b)the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking” Ref: Legislation.Gov

There are also many other specific pieces of legislation which cover certain hazards or industries which impose special risk management requirements.

A little about the language of Risk Assessment


A hazard can be anything - whether work materials, equipment, work methods or practices - that has the potential to cause harm.


A risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody may be harmed by the hazard.

Risk assessment

Risk assessment is the process of evaluating risks to workers' safety and health from workplace hazards. It is a systematic examination of all aspects of work that considers:

  • what could cause injury or harm;

  • whether the hazards could be eliminated and, if not;

  • what preventive or protective measures are, or should be, in place to control the risks.


How can LESH help you?

LESH can provide template documents, advice and training if you wished to perform these yourself. Or if you required a little more support LESH can attend your site and do these for you. Here is a selection of the assessments we perform regularly:

  • General task / area risk assessments

  • PUWER / Machinery safety risk assessments

  • Fire


  • CoSHH

  • Display screen

  • Manual handling

  • Push pull


We can also provide advice and support on writing your safe systems of work or method statements. These documents vary greatly; the level of detail should be relative to the level of risk.

What is a SSOW

A Safe System of Work or a Method Statement is a document which highlights the residual risks (highlighted in a Risk Assessment) and describes what actions should be taken to avoid harm during the task.

Are Safe Systems of Work a legal requirement?


It’s generally accepted that section 2(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is a reference to the need for Safe Systems of Work. It states that employers must, “provide and maintain systems of work that are practical, safe and without risks to health”. A SSOW is a great and simple way to comply with this regulation.

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01623 239705

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