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How often should risk assessment take place?

  • The HSE says risk should be assessed 'every time there are new machines, substances and procedures, which could lead to new hazards'.
  • Whenever a new job brings in significant new hazards, then that job should be fully risk-assessed. If there is high staff turnover, then the way new staff do their work should be checked against the risk assessment, and training provided in safe working practices if necessary.
  • An employer should also carry out a risk assessment whenever something happens to alert the employer of the presence of a hazard – for example, an unusual volume of sickness absence, complaints of stress and bullying or unusually high staff turnover.
  • An employer should also carry out a risk assessment in response to particular changes to the level of risk to individual employees – for example, where an employee returns to work after a period of long term sickness absence.
  • Where an employee is pregnant or breastfeeding, the employer must carry out a risk assessment if her work might involve a risk to her health and safety or that of her unborn child (Regulation 16, Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.