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Health and safety
Risk Assessment Tool
The HSE has developed a risk assessment tool for offices. This was launched at the same time as the Young report into health and safety. It is meant to be a pilot, but there is no formal consultation and it is not clear on the HSE website that comments are wanted.
The TUC welcomes anything that encourages those that do not currently do risk assessments to undertake them, and would support any tools that assist this, however we have a number of concerns over the tool. It is unlikely that any small employer who simply went through this would have successfully assessed and managed risks. It may have identified many of the main ones, but the actual assessment of the risks and the steps taken to remove them would be unlikely to be sufficient. Instead it may lead to a false sense of security by the employer.
We are also concerned about the fact that worker involvement appears at the end, rather than a requirement at the beginning. This means that the most likely scenario will be that the employer will simply notify the employees that they have done it and perhaps post a copy.
Risk assessment is not a complex process, the five steps to risk assessment provides a useful model for what employers should do and for small offices there are already an example risk assessment on the HSE website.
I would be grateful for any feedback from unions on this tool so that we can have a discussion at the next UHSS.
The risk assessment tool is at http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2010/hse-officeriskassessment.htm
Senior Health & Safety Officer,
Trades Union Congress.
020 7467 1276 (office)
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