Risk assessments are an essential practice for identifying and mitigating potential hazards that could negatively impact individuals, assets, or the environment. This comprehensive blog article explains what risk assessments are, the crucial steps and risk assessment examples, with different types of risk assessment, and their importance.

What is a Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment is a systematic process used to identify hazards, identify who is at risk, evaluate the associated risks, and implement measures to control or eliminate those risks and where risk needs to be reduced further consider further measures. This practice is crucial across various sectors to ensure safety, compliance, and operational efficiency.

Types of Risk Assessments

There are various risk assessments required according to different laws. Health and safety risk assessments are required in every workplace, to cover each activity and hazards where there are significant risks. In addition, different legislation has specific requirements. The types of risk assessment depend on what the law requires, the level of risk and industry-wide practices. The British Safety Council provides training and resources on conducting effective risk assessments.

Types of risk assessment include:


Tends to cover a range of significant hazards for a particular construction site and will normally have a range of risk assessments prepared/covering hazards associated with different trades such as groundworks, plastering, brickwork etc, each building site will have different trades which depending on what they are tasked to do will have different hazards to be risk assessed. In this case, these are often (but not always) the contractor’s responsibility as the specialist in their area to provide. Then the site manager will oversee and check that all relevant hazards have been considered. They are site-specific because the risk assessment would name the site and location it relates to and ideally is created after visiting the site and attending a prestart meeting.

What is high risk assessments

Task Specific/ Dynamic risk assessments

Usually, these types act as an addition to existing risk assessments that may not have enough detail for the specific task at hand and/ or it is a particularly high-risk activity. Where there are additional unique hazards for example a Manual handling task required may have a unique shape, dimensions, and weight load dynamic to your bog standard potential routine box lifting. For this, you would have a checklist-type risk assessment to check the ‘TILE’ (Task, Individual, Environment, Load) criteria and make plans on how manual handling will be executed safely. Permits to work could also be considered task-specific risk assessments as they also focus on the individual task ensuring the worker consciously considers the environment they are working in has been prepared to be safe and the relevant supervisor has been informed.

Hazard specific

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 considers fire to be such a great hazard that it to be considered in its own merit as there are so many ways a fire can start in a place of work and there are more considerations than your standard health and safety hazards such as planned evacuation procedures, scenarios, drills, regular maintenance that all ties in.

Therefore, it requires a fire risk assessment, specifically, this tends to have its own layout with a set of criteria. It could be argued it’s a site-specific risk assessment also, but the centre focus is fire for the purpose of this blog it better fits under hazard specific as Fire is considered such a significant hazard it has its own legislation.

As do DSE assessments and COSHH assessments, first aid and stress at work assessments are to be considered on their own merit. Typically, they have their own layout separate from your typical 5 step risk assessment

Personal assessments

A personal assessment is required under the management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 in the following circumstances. When a young person under the age of 18 is due to start work, as they are not used to the work environment and all the associated hazards inexperience, lack of training and competence puts them at a greater risk. An expectant mother would also require one and a vulnerable person. In addition, a personal emergency evacuation plan may be identified as required following a fire risk assessment if there are any identified who may need assistance to evacuate a building in the event of an emergency.

Workplace Risk Assessment Example

Below are some examples of what hazards you may find in different workplace settings:

workplace risk assessment example

Manufacturing Risk Assessment

Example: In a chemical manufacturing plant, a health and safety risk assessment might identify hazards such as exposure to toxic substances, machinery-related risk of injuries, and work-at-height risks. The assessment would evaluate the likelihood and severity of these hazards and recommend control measures using the hierarchy of controls, for example, safe methods of using, controlling, changing, transporting and storage flammable substances, regular maintenance schedules with safe operating procedures such as lock-out tag out and personal protective equipment (PPE) is considered a supporting control (as opposed to primary) as the last line of defence, The first consideration should always do the job needs doing and if yes is there a safer way of doing this that is operationally effective.

Key Example Controls:

  • Maintenance Safety
  • Preventative Maintenance
  • Reactive Maintenance
  • Quarantining faulty equipment and machinery
  • Safe access to work at height
  • Identification of chemical hazards
  • Evaluation of exposure risks
  • Implementation of control measures (e.g., PPE, safety protocols).

Office Risk Assessment Example

Example: An office environment might conduct a workplace risk assessment to identify risks like manual handling, lone working, electrical hazards and obstructions The assessment would identify who would be at risk of carrying out manual handling, who would be in the vicinity, what manual handling if any would be required and who would be considered competent to, for electrical hazards it would consider regular visual and documented checks and the condition of electrical equipment before each use, and ensuring obstructions are not created in commonly accessed areas.

Key Components:

  • Assessing required manual handling activities
  • Inspecting and maintaining/ replacing electrical equipment
  • Ensuring a safe working environment free from obstructions

Construction Risk Assessment Example

Example: A construction site risk assessment would identify hazards such as falls from heights, falling objects, exposure to harmful substances, and vehicular plant and powered equipment-related injuries. The assessment would recommend measures like installing guardrails, providing appropriate PPE, and ensuring machinery is regularly inspected and maintained.

Key Components:

  • Preventing fall hazards
  • Preventing the potential of falling objects from height
  • Identifying and reducing how workers could be exposed to harmful substances
  • Plant pedestrian segregation.
Risk Assessment questions

Potential Questions you have

Why is Risk Assessment Important?

Risk assessment is crucial for identifying potential hazards and implementing measures to prevent accidents and injuries. It ensures compliance with safety regulations, protects employees, and enhances overall productivity.

How Often Should Risk Assessments be Conducted?

The frequency of risk assessments depends on the nature of the work environment and the associated risks. High-risk environments, such as construction sites, may require more frequent assessments compared to low-risk office settings. Regular reviews and updates are essential to ensure ongoing safety.

What are the Key Steps in Conducting a Risk Assessment?

The key steps in conducting a risk assessment include:

  1. Identifying hazards
  2. Identify who could be harmed and how?
  3. Assess the risks associated with those hazards
  4. Identify control measures to mitigate the risks following the hierarchy of controls
  5. Identify any further opportunities to reduce risks further

Can Risk Assessments be Customised for Specific Needs?

Yes, risk assessment templates can be customised to cater to specific needs, such as construction projects, event management, and school activities. Customisable templates include built-in matrices for identifying and categorising common risks associated with each specific area.

What is the Role of Employees in Risk Assessment?

Employees play a crucial role in risk assessment by reporting hazards, following safety protocols, reporting accidents and near misses and participating in training programs. The writing of risk assessments should 100% involve a consultation process to ensure the proposed controls are practical and don’t hinder operational performance in a way that could be detrimental to production or pose a further risk. The risk assessments should be written so workers feel their voices are heard, so they feel their input is valued and they should reflect what is likely to happen in the workplace. Their involvement ensures that potential risks are identified and addressed promptly. More detailed information about the Role of Employees in Risk Assessment can be found here.

How Can Technology Enhance Risk Assessment?

Technology can enhance risk assessment by providing digital tools for hazard identification, risk evaluation, and documentation. Mobile apps and software solutions enable real-time reporting and analysis, making the risk assessment process more efficient and accurate.


Risk assessments are essential tools for identifying, evaluating, and mitigating potential risks across various industries. By using appropriate templates and conducting thorough assessments, organisations can ensure safer work environments, comply with regulations, and enhance overall productivity. The examples and templates provided in this article serve as valuable resources for implementing effective risk management strategies.