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Carrying out Risk Assessments

CDM (GB) Knowledge Base

Risk Assessments

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations require all employers, to assess the risks to the health and safety of their employees and anyone else who may be affected by their work activities. This is to identify necessary preventive and protective measures.

Employers with five or more employees must record the significant findings of the risk assessment and then arrange to adopt the health and safety measures that follow on from this assessment.

Employers are required to provide appropriate health surveillance where the risk assessments shows it is necessary, together with such training as is necessary to ensure that employees can do their job without risk. They must be given appropriate information so that they understand health and safety matters.

A health and safety risk assessment is the systematic identification of the hazards that may exist in an establishment, or in the carrying out of a task within that establishment, and the evaluation of the risks associated with those hazards.

See Also

What are 'hazards' and 'risks'?

A 'hazard' is described as the potential to cause harm, whilst a 'risk' is the likelihood that the hazard will cause harm.


Two men are working at height using identical ladders, the hazard of falling off is the same for both men. However, one ladder is tied at the top and the other is not. The risk of falling from the untied ladder is higher.

A tiger in a cage is a hazard. Should the tiger escape it becomes a risk.

Risk Assessment Method

  1. Describe each task which requires a risk assessment.
  2. Identify hazards in each task.
  3. Assess the likelihood and severity of possible resulting injury from each task.
  4. Identify control measures for each hazard, including necessary protective clothing and equipment.
  5. Identify responsibilities for carrying out the control measures.
  6. Identify any training and supervision issues.

Everyone employed in carrying out the task should be made aware of the hazards and the control measures to be adopted.

In construction

In construction the risk assessment method is the same whether it is to;

  • Assess the risks inherent in digging a trench for a wall foundation.
  • Assess the risks inherent in a design.
  • Carry out a risk assessment of the whole project in order to reply to a Pre-Tender Health and Safety Plan.

There are however, a wide variety of risk assessment reporting formats. The CDM ToolKit™ contains a risk assessment wizard that allows users to choose from over a dozen different formats from a simple form to a database approach which is capable of 'learning' the individual hazards, controls and persons at risk for the user's organisation. In addition, users can import their own risk assessment forms if they prefer to use those.

See Also

Project Wide Risk Assessments

Project wide assessments can be used in the pre-tender phase by the designer to assess his or her pre-tender design. It can be used by the prospective principal contractor to assess the project in reply to the pre-tender health & safety plan.

Construction risk assessments can be looked at in 3 stages.

  1. The existing context.
  2. Design and construction materials.
  3. Maintenance cleaning and repair.

In turn each of these stages could be looked at in five areas.

  1. Underground
  2. Ground Level
  3. Structures
  4. Fixtures & Finishes
  5. Other Considerations

The risk assessment built up in this way is both comprehensive and systematic.

Single Task Risk Assessments

for example:

  • Para 1 - A description of the task.
  • Para 2 - The hazards and risks assessed at each stage of the task.
  • Para 3 - The likelihood and severity of injuries at each stage.
  • Para 4 - Measures identified to control the hazards and risks.
  • Para 5 - Responsibility for carrying out the control measures.
  • Para 6 - Training and supervision issues.