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Fire Risk Assessment - Planning and Content | myfiresafetytraining.com

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Fire Risk Assessment – Planning and Content

Planning For Hazard Control

Risk assessment (RA) processes should ideally start at the planning stage of the work activity, continuing throughout the work activity itself and should be concluded in periodic reviews, to ensure that the risk assessment is always current task specific and complete.

An initial assessment must be made to ascertain whether or not each hazard presents a significant risk of injury or damage in the activity. The level of risk arising from each hazard must then be quantified using the risk matrix considering current company procedures and existing permits / work controls.

When all the initial significant hazards have been identified, a supervisor should look to minimise the risk to as low as reasonably practicable by listing specific precautions and ensuring there is full compliance by the workforce and the other effected people towards the controls. The precautions should address each of the hazards in turn and before moving to the next identified hazard, the supervisor must ensure the risk of injury is as low as reasonably practicable.

Following the introduction of the preventative measures the hazards need to be re-addressed to ensure that the residual risk of each hazard has achieved a low risk rating. Any hazards that present a risk rating higher than “low” following the introduction of the preventative measures should not continue. The work activity should be revisited in an attempt to find an alternative method for completion or additional preventative measures in order for the work to be carried out without risk of injury or damage. Residual risk identification should be carried out in the same way as the initial assessment in that each hazard is considered in turn and the risk of the injury / damage being quantified.

Risk Assessment Content

The description of all the steps involved within the work activity should contain sufficient detail so that the people carrying out the RA can identify all relevant hazards and identify cost efficient reasonably practicable means in which to control them. Persons at risk from the work activity not only means the people carrying out the activity, but also everyone else who may be effected in any way by the work activity, for example anyone passing the activity, anyone working above or below the activity or the general public.

The description of the location in which the work activity will be carried out should contain sufficient details of the exact location, including plant / equipment numbers and should ideally identify other work activities that will be carried out in close proximity. For large work activities, the main assessment could be divided into smaller individual task based risk assessments and these could be referenced within the main risk assessment, to avoid the main risk assessment information pack becoming too large.

The individual assessments should cover the specific hazards present in the work activities and are often created for specialist work activities that only sufficiently trained people can carry out, for example welding. These assessments are smaller and are produced for easy reference for the operatives involved.

Any Permit to Work requirements should also be identified in the risk assessment during the planning stage, in addition to identifying specialist assessments of scaffolding, insulation, pressure testing, COSHH etc. All the documents associated with those assessments should ideally be attached to the risk assessment to form a pack to use at the workplace which allows easy reference for the operatives.

It is important to note that risk assessments are not simply a paperwork generating exercise. To avoid this happening, the supervisors of the work activity should proactively concentrate their focus on controlling significant hazards, which are reasonably foreseeable to cause injury or damage. Any trivial risks often don’t need to be identified on the risk assessments, to keep the awareness of the main risks higher for all of the people using the risk assessments to safely carry out their work.


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