Hazards and Risks
A hazard review is a process of identifying potential hazards in your workplace.
Risk Review or a Risk assessment is a formal assessment of that hazard and how likely it is to result in actual harm.
The process is:-
- Identify hazards
- Risk assess so you can prioritise which ones need attention first
- You fix the problem, or take action to reduce the risk
Simple example to illustrate stages:
- Hazard: We spot a loose corner on a carpet
- Risk: Someone could trip and injure themselves
- Immediate action:. We tape it down as a temporary measure, this minimises the risk
- Fixing the problem: Tradesman fixes the loose carpet, this eliminates the risk
The smart answer is that “We are all responsible” and our own safety depends on the actions we take or issues we ignore. The theory and practice often differ, and it is not uncommon to find everyone thinking someone else is taking care of it.
Legally, it is the responsibility of the employer to establish a set of safety standards and procedures; provide the tools and equipment to keep people safe; and provide adequate training to staff.
External contractor come in at fixed intervals, whereas your staff are experiencing the risk every single day.
It is far more effective that staff are taught to be aware and observant of potential risks, and in the critical place to spot, prevent and avoid the risk in the first place.
Most routine business activities can be monitored in-house in a cost effective manner.
An external contractor is only useful where specialist knowledge and expertise is required.
An employer’s liability claim requires the employee to demonstrate a breach of duty of care.
This is usually when you are in contravention of any government guidelines or advice regarding safety at work or travel.
- Sending an employee to an area affected by the safety issue
- Not providing essential equipment or guidelines
- Making an employee come to work after exposure and infecting others
Avoid this risk by having up to date risk assessments and up to date safety guidelines.
Best Practice with Safety & Hazards
Teamwork reduces risk, and all staff need to be trained to be observant and proactive in spotting and fixing hazards around them.
Your biggest asset in spotting hazards and minimising risk are the people closest to the task, as they have the most intimate understanding of what can go wrong.
The most common failing is a lack of Daily Safety Checks by staff
Many people feel unqualified to carry out risk assessments.
Here is how you can overcome this:-
As this question at a training session: Have you crossed a road in the last few days?
Usual answer will be “Yes”
Then explain this in risk assessment terms:-
- This is what you did. You checked the crossing and traffic lights, looking left and right for traffic
- Then you crossed the road when it was safe
- This was the biggest risk assessment you could have done because your life depended on getting it right.
- You do risk assessments like this every single day, even able to teach a 5 year old, but we don’t think of it as a formal risk assessment.
Everyone, who hasn’t been run over by a bus, is capable of doing such risk assessments
Walking around to look for loose cables and trip hazards is not the most exciting of tasks for staff.
Mundane tasks can be turned into something more interesting with an element of fun and competition.
Get a large box of chocolates and let people win chocolates based on the number of hazards they spot, with special prizes for fixing things on the spot and the “best hazard spotted”.
This is more than a fun competition, what you are achieving is building team spirit, participation, and common sense of responsibility without having to be “managerial”.
You are vulnerable to claims if you did not take reasonable precautions or you acted in a negligent manner with regard to safety.
Check your insurance in these key areas:
- Public liability : Your liability to the public
- Employer's Liability: Your liability to your employees
- Professional/Medical Liability: Care liability for malpractice or negligent treatment
- Business interruption: Disruption or closure due to unexpected events
Risk in making an insurance claim
- Your excess per claim might not make it worth making a claim
- Your premium may be increased next time
- Your insurer may decline to renew next time based on claims history
Note: Care Homes are increasingly seen as high risk and many insurers are looking for a reason to get out
Most likely COVID related claim types:-
- Business Interruption
- Negligence/Infection due to
Be aware of staff being able to claim against you for them getting infected in the workplace.
Don't expect a business interruption claim to be easy, most insurers are refusing claims due to "Forced closure of business by authorities"
Post-COVID Insurability Risks
- Care homes and Domiciliary care are increasingly at risk of being refused cover
- Many insurers are refusing COVID cover for Public and Employer's liability
- If you are formally refused cover, you will have immense difficulty getting any cover from anyone else
Add extra focus on prevention measures, daily safety and reasonable precautions
Instant Solution: Risk Assessment
Go to My Toolkts and look for these under Evidence Toolkits (Section 6 - Safety)
These Toolkits help identify Hazards and Risk Assess your findings