Reviewing risk assessments
Risk assessment is not a one off task, but an ongoing process which should form part of everyday considerations, especially where risks are dynamic or particularly challenging. It is important to review risks and assessments on a regular basis, depending on the level and nature of the risk. Assessments must always be reviewed if anything is likely to change (but before the change is implemented) and also whenever controls are suspect, following an accident or near miss for example. If nothing changes and there are no related accidents or near misses risk assessments should still be reviewed at least once a year.
Findings from hazard identification exercises and risk assessments will help identify the content and timing of any pro-active monitoring which might be required. Such information is particularly useful for the development of inspection checklists, which can be used to check that risk controls are in place and are being used correctly.
In essence the effectiveness of risk assessments and risk controls can be assessed through:
Health and safety audits are carried out by the Health and Safety Team, as are inspections. Departments can also carry out their own inspections or sampling in order to provide assurance to Heads of Department that control measures have been implemented and are being followed by staff and/or students.
It is always important to learn from accidents and incidents, so that additional control measures can be identified in order to prevent recurrence. Accident investigation is a form of post-accident risk assessment as control measures are assessed and modified accordingly, or new controls implemented.
There is more information available on the Accidents, Incidents and Near Misses page.