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Example risk assessment for factory maintenance

As part of its strategy to encourage sensible risk management, the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has published a series of example risk assessments on its website. These are aimed at answering questions such as 'What do you actually need to write down?' and 'What might a 'good enough' record of a risk assessment look like?' The HSE website states that risk assessments should be about 'identifying practical actions that protect people from harm and injury', rather than an exercise in bureaucracy.

Example risk assessments on the website cover a wide variety of work environments, ranging from shops, offices and call centres, to car parking attendants, night clubs and village halls. Only a few are aimed at manufacturing industries, but examples here include woodworking and factory maintenance work - which is one of the most recent to have been added to the website.

The factory maintenance example starts with a description of the working environment and personnel involved, then outlines how the risk assessment is performed, based on the guidance contained in the HSE's 'Five Steps to Risk Assessment' free publication. In essence, the process involves identifying the hazards and then noting who might be harmed by the hazards and how. For each hazard, the existing measures are noted and, where these are considered to be inadequate, notes are made about what else needs to be done.

Findings from the risk assessment are then presented to the relevant people and published on a notice board. Where further action is required, each item is ticked off the assessment when completed.

Finally a plan is made for when to review and update the risk assessment.

The HSE is keen to remind people using its example risk assessments that the examples show the kind of approach the HSE expects small businesses or workplaces to take. However, the risk assessments should not simply be adopted wholesale without any thought, as doing so would neither satisfy the law nor provide effective protection. Even where the hazards are found to be the same as those in the examples, the required control measures may be different from those in the examples to meet the particular conditions in the workplace.

Pilz offers a number of related services for small, medium-sized and large manufacturing organisations that need to manage risks associated with machinery and work equipment. These include Plant Assessments, PUWER Assessments, ESPE Inspections and detailed Risk Assessments on individual machines. Furthermore, Pilz consultants possess the necessary experience and expertise to be able to advise what actions need to be taken in the event of the existing risk management measures being found to be inadequate. If required, Pilz can also design safety concepts and complete safety-related control systems, or Pilz can put client companies in touch with third-party engineering firms or system integrators.

Please contact Pilz to request more information about consulting and engineering services.

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