Safety Awareness

Duties as employees under HSAWA Act 1974

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An organisation shall: 'Ensure that the persons are competent on the basis of appropriate education, training or experience' (BS EN ISO9001:2015, S7.2)
Self-study lesson plans and training record download page.

Understand the relevant terms

Definition of a hazard

A Hazard is a potential source of harm or adverse health effect on a person or persons, e.g. electricity, chemicals, working up a ladder, noise, a keyboard, a bully at work, stress, etc.

Definition of risk

A risk is the chance, high or low, that any hazard will actually cause somebody harm.

For example, working alone away from your office can be a hazard. The risk of personal danger may be high. Electric cabling is a hazard. If it has snagged on a sharp object, the exposed wiring places it in a 'high-risk' category.

Hierarchy of Hazard Control

Eliminate - Physically remove hazard

Reduce - Substitute hazard for something else

Isolate - Isolate people from the risk of coming into contact with the hazard

Control - Engineering Controls. change the way people work e.g isolating with physical barriers, redesign, platforms, smoke extractors.

Discipline - Administrative controls with new procedures, training or signs etc

PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) as last resort (If the hazard cannot be removed from the workplace or engineered out through mechanisms, and employee exposure to the hazard cannot be mitigated by work practices, then, and only then, should the employer consider PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) for employees.

Risk Assessment Definitions

This section will help you understand what is meant by the term risk assessment and its value towards personal safety:

Risk assessment is a systematic process of evaluating the potential risks that may be involved in a projected activity or undertaking.

Risk assessment - the overall process of hazard identification, risk analysis, and risk evaluation.

Hazard identification - the process of finding, listing, and characterizing hazards.

Risk analysis - a process for comprehending the nature of hazards and determining the level of risk.



(1) Risk analysis provides a basis for risk evaluation and decisions about risk control.

(2) Information can include current and historical data, theoretical analysis, informed opinions, and the concerns of stakeholders.

(3) Risk analysis includes risk estimation.

Risk evaluation - the process of comparing an estimated risk against given risk criteria to determine the significance of the risk.

Risk control - actions implementing risk evaluation decisions.

Note: Risk control can involve monitoring, re-evaluation, and compliance with decisions.

5 Steps to Risk Assessment

Follow the 5 steps to making a valid risk assessment

Step 1: Identify hazards

i.e. anything that may cause harm e.g. physical, mental, chemical and biological hazards.

Employers have a duty to assess the health and safety risks faced by their workers. Your employer must systematically check for possible physical, mental, chemical and biological hazards.

Common classifications of hazards:

Physical: e.g. lifting, awkward postures, slips, and trips, noise, dust, machinery, computer equipment, etc.

Mental: e.g. excess workload, long hours, working with high-need clients, bullying, etc. These are also called 'psychosocial' hazards, affecting mental health and occurring within working relationships.

Chemical: e.g. asbestos, Hydraulic fluids, cleaning fluids, etc.

Step 2: Decide who may be harmed, and how.

Identifying who is at risk starts with your organisation's own full- and part-time employees. Employers must also assess risks faced by agency and contract staff, visitors, clients and other members of the public on their premises.

Employers must review work routines in all the different locations and situations where their staff are employed.

Step 3: Assess the risks and take action

Employers must consider how likely it is that each hazard could cause harm. This will determine whether or not your employer should reduce the level of risk. Even after all precautions have been taken, some risk usually remains. Employers must decide for each remaining hazard whether the risk remains high, medium or low.

Step 4: Make a record of the findings

Employers with five or more staff are required to record in writing the main findings of the risk assessment. This record should include details of any hazards noted in the risk assessment, and action taken to reduce or eliminate risk.

This record provides proof that the assessment was carried out, and is used as the basis for a later review of working practices. The risk assessment is a working document. You should be able to read it. It should not be locked away in a cupboard.

Step 5: Review the risk assessment

A risk assessment must be kept under review in order to ensure that agreed safe working practices continue to be applied (e.g. that management's safety instructions are respected by supervisors and line managers); and take account of any new working practices, new machinery or more demanding work targets.

Reporting, communication and actions

Understand the correct procedures to follow in the case of an accident or near miss/hit. Each incident will need to be reported.

Understand your specific job role when working close to live fluid power systems and plan carefully to achieve your goals and follow safe working procedures.

Request assistance if you are confronted with a problem outside the scope of your current knowledge.

If in doubt ASK!