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Business Skills

What is the Purpose of a Risk Assessment


Lead Academy

7 Mins Read

It is the responsibility of every employer to conduct a risk assessment in the workplace on a regular basis to protect employees from any harm or injury. The risk assessment process involves identifying, documenting and eliminating or reducing hazards in a work environment. Know in detail the purpose of a risk assessment and its importance from this blog.

What are Hazards, Risks and Controls?

Hazard– A hazard is the potential source of harm, injury or adverse health effect on people. Some risk assessment examples of hazards in the workplace are work materials, equipment, harmful agents such as chemicals, noise or vibration.

Risk– A risk is the likelihood of harm or injury to anyone resulting from the hazard. When considering risk, the number of people at risk from the hazard should also be taken into consideration.

Controls- Control measures or controls are the precautions taken to ensure that a hazard will not cause harm or injury to anyone. When putting a control measure, beware that it does not create any additional hazard.

How to Recognise Risks?

The most common way to recognise potential future risks in any workplace is to look into the past, starting with the lessons learned. The previous records of accidents would help you identify the precautions that may not have been considered during the previous project planning but affected the outcome of that project.

Another way of identifying risk is through instruction manuals of equipment used in the workplace that can indicate any risks involved in working with the machines.

The simplest way of recognising risks among all these is walking around the workplace to find out any processes, activities, or substances that may cause harm to employees.

There would always be some unforeseen conditions and design errors despite the best laid plans in any organisation. Under such a condition, take actions to prevent harm and risks, such as providing protective equipment to employees and contractors, using less risky equipment, and so on.

How to Prioritise Risks?

Businessman Pulling Rope at Risk Scale Pointer

Risk prioritisation is a key component of a risk management program. Further, it becomes necessary when several risks are at the same level, with limited resources. While prioritising risks, decision-makers should be able to obtain the answers to the following questions: 

  • How critical would be the immediate impact to organisational operations, organisational assets and individuals?
  • How critical would be the future impact to organisational operations, organisational assets and individuals?
  • What is the expected loss from a single occurrence of the threat?
  • What if the risk can take place more than once? What is the overall expected loss for the period of concern?

The level of risk is often categorised according to the potential harm that the hazard may cause, the number of persons exposed and the number of times persons are exposed to the hazard.

Fisk assessment examples include, exposure to any airborne materials or fibres will always be classified as high because a single exposure may cause fatal lung disease. In contrast, the risk associated with using a display screen is very low as the health effects are minimal.

What is a Risk Assessment?

Risk assessment is the process of identifying potential hazards and evaluating associated risks within a workplace and then undertaking preventive measures to avoid the risk and ensure workers’ safety from workplace hazards.

Risk Analysis Display's Goals For Safety Measuring

What is the Purpose of a Risk Assessment?

  • Identifying risks and hazards

The purpose of a risk analysis is to look at the systems and processes closely and identify potential issues. This identification of risks and hazards is the first step towards implementing control measures. 

Through risk assessment, you can assess who is at risk and how they are at risk in a process. 

  • Emergency planning

A risk evaluation looks at the likelihood of emergencies occurring, and then it allows to plan routes, meeting points and communication methods. Due to risk analysis, one can employe responsible personnel to carry out procedures and measures the success of an evacuation or emergency plan.

  • Prevention of occupational risks

The process of risk assessment prevents occupational risks by recognising hazards like faulty equipment, a spill of chemicals etc., in the workplace and adopting precautions. Employer identifies and eliminates the potential risks and hazards and in cases where elimination is not possible, they take preventive measures.

  • Ensuring a safe environment for employees

As risk assessments aim to identify the potential hazards in the workplace, it also provides necessary preventive measures to eliminate or minimise the hazards and risks. This ensures the workplace health and safety of employees working for any organisation.

  • Reviewing the preventive measures

Risk assessment provides an opportunity to review the existing safety protocols and update if necessary. There might be changes in the office environment like new employees’ recruitment and new equipment’s arrival requiring additional safety measures and training. All these happen when you review risk evaluation.

How Many Steps are There to a Risk Assessment?

There are five steps to a risk assessment procedure which are-

  1. Identify the Hazards
  2. Decide Who might be Harmed and How
  3. Evaluate the Risks and take Actions to Prevent Them
  4. Record the Findings
  5. Review the Risk Assessment


Risk Analysis Display With Different Risk Levels

Why are Risk Assessments Important?

It is very important to conduct risk analysis in the workplace as it helps to determine whether the existing control measures are adequate or not. Further, dynamic risk assessment can control and minimise employees’ life risks and save any industry from unwanted damage.

It is a legal requirement for employers to ensure the documentation of the risk evaluation while employing five or more people.

In the absence of risk assessment, any business might face financial loss due to property damage, reduced production, or fines and civil actions. Industries also face negative publicity due to a lack of awareness of the employers when a work injury occurs.


Risk assessments play a crucial role in ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone within the workplace. Both the employer and employees should acknowledge the importance of risk analysis and conduct the assessment whenever needed.


Why are risk assessments important?

Risk assessments are important because they help identify potential hazards and evaluate the likelihood and severity of harm that could result from those hazards. This information can then be used to implement measures to mitigate or eliminate the risks, ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals and organizations.

How many steps are there in a risk assessment protocol?

The number of steps in a risk assessment protocol can vary depending on the specific methodology used. However, most risk assessment protocols typically involve several key steps such as hazard identification, exposure assessment, and risk characterization.

How to write a risk assessment?

To write a risk assessment, you should follow the 5 key steps

  • Identify the Hazards
  • Decide Who might be Harmed and How
  • Evaluate the Risks and take Actions to Prevent Them
  • Record the Findings
  • Review the Risk Assessment

and ensure that your assessment is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

How many steps are there to a risk assessment?

There are commonly five steps to a risk assessment: recognising hazards, assessing the risks, controlling the risks, recording the findings and reviewing and revising the assessment as necessary.

Is a risk assessment a legal requirement?

According to the law, a risk assessment is not always a legal requirement, but it is necessary for employers to ensure the safety and health of their employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

How many steps in conducting a risk assessment?

Typically, there are five steps in conducting a risk assessment: identifying hazards, determining who might be harmed and how, evaluating the risks and deciding on precautions, recording your findings and implementing them, and reviewing your assessment and updating it if necessary.

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