structure with responsibilities pdf. 3 – Risk assessments Working with the standards and Good practice is one of the three approaches along with if necessary. Source: Assessment – a brief guide to controlling risk in the workplace. Available at: http:// (accessed ).

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How the risk is managed is to be determined by those who create the risk. They have a duty to demonstrate that they have taken action to ensure all risk is reduced SFAIRP and must have documentary evidence, for example a risk assessment or safety case, to prove that they manage the risks their activities create.

The UK Health and Safety Executive HSE does not pubjs organisations how to manage the risks they create but does inspect the quality of ;ubns identification and management. This paper gives a brief overview of where responsibility for occupational health and safety lies in the UK, and how risk should be managed through risk assessment.

Risk Assessment in the UK Health and Safety System: Theory and Practice

The focus of the paper is three recent major UK incidents, all involving fatalities, and all of which were wholly avoidable if risks had been properly assessed and managed. The paper concludes with an analysis of the common failings of risk assessments and key actions for improvement. Prior to the UK had spent the preceding years generating a large number of Health and Safety laws focused on individual industries, and even individual regions of the country.

These laws, covering work places such as factories, offices, railway premises etc. Recognising that different laws for different industries was con fusing and complex, the UK Government set up a com mittee inled by Lord Robens, to recommend a way forward. The resulting Robens Report [ 1 ] recommended ‘the unification within a single comprehensive hrtp of legisl ation of the main Statutes bearing on safety and health at work’ and ‘the establishment of a national Safety pubs Health Au thority’.

The short guide to Health and Safety Regulation in the UK [ 3 ] provides a summary of the Health and Safety at Work Act and states ‘The main require ment on employers is to carry out a risk assessment. Employ ers with five or more employees need to record the signifi cant findings of the risk assessment. This article will introduce the risk assessment in the UK and analyze some cases of occupational accident with the risk as sessment model. The Health and Safety at Work Act places responsibility not only on employers but also on designers, manufacturers and suppliers to ensure that articles and substances are safe for use so far as is reasonably practicable, and on every employee while at work to take reasonable care of him or herself, and of any other person who may be affected by his gv her actions.

The legal responsibilities of employers are summarised in Fig. The legal responsibilities of employers[ 4 ]. It is important to hae that ‘Sanctions include fines, imprisonment and disqualification’. In the UK, company directors and managers can be found personally liable of negligence, or indeed manslaughter, if someone is injured or killed and HSE finds that there was no suitable and sufficient risk assessment covering the activities involved.

In addition, individuals may be imprisoned if held personally liable. In a recent legal action, where two fire fighters were killed as a result of the incorrect storage of fireworks, two company directors were jailed for 5 and 7 years respectively [ 5 ].

Using “reasonably practicable” allows HSE to set goals for organisations, rather than being pre scriptive. This flexibility is a great advantage but it requires judge ment too. In the indg63 majority of cases, HSE can make this judgement by referring to existing ‘industry good practice’ that has been established by a process of discussion with in dustry stakeholders to achieve a consensus about what is ‘SFAIRP’.

For high hazards, complex or novel situations, HSE builds on good practice, using, for example, cost-benefit analysis, to inform judgement. The reason for placing the responsibility with the organisation creating the risk is that it is impossible for HSE to be expert in the operation of every technology and workplace, especially at the rate of technology development.


HSE has published a guide to Risk Assessment [ 8 ] which identifies the key steps. These are outlined in Fig. The risk assessment steps allow the generation of a list of risks but for many people it can beg the question ‘where should I focus, what are the biggest risks? The Risk Matrix questions the probability of certain levels of harm.

Depending upon the level of harm and the probability, the risk is labelled as High, Medium or Low. The Risk Graph of Fig. Here, the risk consequence level of harm has its probability nse from a number of factors. In this example it includes the severity httl harm, the exposure to harm for example the amount of time per day an individual is exposed to the risk indy163, the probability that the event will occur for the given exposure and the probability of avoiding harm should the hazardous event occur.

The best results from these tools are achieved when gttp team of people undertake the risk assessment together. The risk assessment team should be multi-disciplinary including, for example, those who work in the area being assessed, a manager, a health and safety specialist and a person who is not closely associated with the work area. The latter will bring a ‘fresh uttp of eyes’ and often sees risks that those very familiar with the area being assessed overlook due to their over familiarity.

High quality risk assessments are usually achieved quite easily for individual pieces of equipment or self contained work areas. The most usual source of error is between equipment or work areas.

Risk assessment

Consider for example a small manufacturing process where Team A take raw material and prepare it for initial fabrication by Team B. Team B, once they have completed initial ppubns pass to Team C for finishing. Once Team C have finished the product it is ready for packaging and shipment by Team D.

The best way for this organisation to risk assess their manufacturing process is first to have each Htrp A-D assess their own work and then for representatives of each Team A-D to form a puns team to complete a ‘whole process’ risk assessment using both the information on the individual risk assessments and considering the interactions between processes.

This is illustrated in Fig. In addition, when undertaking the Risk Assessments, the team must remember the responsibilities:. Three case studies are now presented to illustrate the consequences of not undertaking a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. In all cases, there was a loss of life that was completely avoidable if the risk assessment had been completed properly and acted upon.

Dreamspace was a large inflatable structure inside which members of the public could walk around to experience a dream-like world of light and sound. It comprised inflatable ‘cells’, each 5m high. The structure was designed for its artistic merit indh163 the focus of the Designer was on aww dream-like experience that participants would enjoy. The structure was assembled and inflated by a Contract Company on public land, a park controlled by a Public Park Authority.

All yov parties, the Designer, the Contract Company and the Public Park Authority, had legal responsibility for the health and safety of the staff who would operate the structure and the public who would visit the park.

The structure lifted up to a near vertical position, ‘like a sail’, as shown in Fig. This occurred while members of the public were inside the structure and others were surrounding the structure as it fell back pbuns earth.

Two people were killed and 27 injured. HSL undertook an investigation and determined that the structure was tethered by 22 ropes and pegs distributed around the perimeter of the structure.

These tethers and pegs obviously failed to hold the structure in place. HSL then investigated the risk assessments that glv been undertaken asking many questions. For example; had the structure been govv to withstand wind conditions? The wind uo were not abnormal for the UK. Had engineering calculations been undertaken to determine the loading that various weather conditions would impose on the structure?

Had these calculations determined the type strengthnumber and positioning of tethers and pegs? HSE successfully prosecuted all parties, the Designer, the Contract Company and the Public Park Authority, for failing to protect the health and safety of both workers and the public.


This accident was completely avoidable. All three of the parties listed above had a responsibility to ensure the structure was safe but not one of them did so. There was also a failure of the parties involved to communicate to one another about possible risks. ICL Plastics had a factory in Glasgow where there was an explosion that demolished the building killing jse workers and injuring a further 33 people. HSL undertook an investigation and determined that the cause of the explosion was due to an underground pipe carrying Liquid Petroleum Gas LPG which had indg1663.

The corroded pipe allowed LPG to leak out, the LPG had col ukk in the basement of the building and, on htto an ignition source, the gas ignited resulting in the explosion and de molition of the building. The corroded pipe is shown in Fig. Analysis of the maintenance records indicated that no maintenance of this buried pipe had been undertaken. In addition, review of the risk assessment records indicated that corrosion of ppubns pipe, and the subsequent hazards resulting from any corrosion, had not been identified.

Investigation of the historical context indicated that the pipes were installed correctly and to the appropriate standard of the time the pipes were installed in In this case, the employer forgot Step 5 of HSE’s Five Step Risk Assessment Process, that is ‘to continually review and update the nttp assessment at suitable time intervals’.

Once the pipes had been installed, no system was put in place to reassess the safety of the pipes as time elapsed. This accident was completely avoidable as a suitable and effective risk assessment would have identified corrosion as a hazard and a suitable maintenance regime, as the risk mitigation, would have prevented the LPG leak.

The Nimrod aircraft, shown in Fig.

Risk Assessment in the UK Health and Safety System: Theory and Practice

HSE did not undertake the investigation [ 11 ] air accidents being outside its regulatory remit but the lessons from the incident are very relevant to all employers. The investigation identified that fuel leaked out of a coupling during the in-flight refuelling. This leaked fuel was close to hot pipe-work not part of the refuelling system which provided an ignition source. This is shown in Fig. The Nimrod aircraft had been in service for over 30 years and had been modified twice.

These modifications made the aircraft unsafe, but this wasn’t identified. A suitable and sufficient risk assessment called a Safety Case for large, high hazard plant was not completed following the modifications.

Subsequent maintenance records showed evidence of fuel leaks that had happened before but these were not acted upon. As with the other case studies, this accident was completely avoidable. There were three failings in this example 1 a failure to undertake suitable and sufficient risk assessment at the design stage of the modifications to the gvo 2 a failure to review and act on maintenance data bse when a retrospective Safety Case was undertaken some time after the modified aircraft had been in service, maintenance data was not appropriately collected and reviewed to inform the Safety Case.

The Nimrod Review Report [ 11 ] stated that the failure was one of ‘leadership, culture and priorities’. The case studies illustrate some of the common failing in undertaking risk assessments. HSL undertook a Review of Risk Assessment Practice in [ 12 ] and identified these and further common failings that are listed below:.

To undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment takes time and an appropriate multi-disciplinary team of people. There are no short cuts. Good practice is about making the commitment to ensuring that risks are as low as is reasonably practicable and maintaining that commitment, by risk review and mitigation, throughout the life of the activity being undertaken.

National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. Journal List Saf Health Work v. Published online Sep Find articles by Karen Russ. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

Received Jul 30; Accepted Sep 5. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Pubhs http: