Concept of risk management control circle

Understanding RAMS: Risk Assessment Method Statements

In the United Kingdom, it is an employer’s requirement to protect your employees, and others who come into your workplace from harm and therefore using RAMS (risk assessment method statements) is a great way to identify and reduce incidents occurring.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum requirement

Risk management process

for employers is to:

  • identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk

There are multiple steps to reducing risks in your workplace and assessing the risks is just one part of the overall control and mitigation process.

For most small, low-risk businesses the steps you need to take are straightforward and are explained below.

 

Taking steps to reduce risks.

Risk management is a step-by-step process for controlling health and safety risks caused by hazards in the workplace.

You can do it yourself or appoint a competent person to help you.

  • Identify hazards
  • Assess the risks
  • Control the risks
  • Record your findings
  • Review the controls

 

Identify hazards

Look around your workplace and think about what may cause harm (these are called hazards).

Think about:

  • how people work and how plants and equipment are used
  • what chemicals and substances are used
  • what safe or unsafe work practices exist
  • the general state of your premises

Use your accident and ill-health records to help you to identify risks that might occur in the future. If there is a history or a trend of injuries within a workplace then use that information to stop or reduce the risks of them going forward. Take account of non-routine operations, such as maintenance, cleaning or changes in production cycles.

Think about hazards to health, such as manual handling, use of chemicals and causes of work-related stress.

For each hazard, think about how employees, contractors, visitors or members of the public might be harmed.

Talk to workers

Involve your employees, as an employer you might not have a deep understanding of all the day to day tasks other people are doing and therefore what risks they face. Asking them for input will only help you create a more complete risk assessment.

 

Vulnerable workers

Some workers might have specific requirements, for example, young workers, migrant workers, new or expectant mothers and people with disabilities. You should think about the requirements for all of your workforce and as mentioned previously, if you’re unsure ask them for input.

 

Assess the risks

Once you have identified the hazards, decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how serious

Construction site safety notices on wooden fence

it could be. This is assessing the level of risk.

The key factors:

  • Who might be harmed and how
  • What you’re already doing to control the risks
  • What further action you need to take to control the risks
  • Who needs to carry out the action
  • When the action is needed by
  • Control the risks
  • Look at what you’re already doing, and the controls you already have in place.

 

Things you should ask yourself:

  • Can I get rid of the hazard altogether?
  • If not, how can I control the risks so that harm is unlikely?
  • If you need further controls, consider:
  • redesigning the job
  • replacing the materials, machinery or process
  • organising your work to reduce exposure to the materials, machinery or process
  • identifying and implementing practical measures needed to work safely
  • providing personal protective equipment and making sure workers wear it

Once you have considered all the risks your next task is to put the controlling measures you have identified in place. You’re not expected to eliminate all risks, but you need to do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect people from harm. This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the real risk in terms of money, time or trouble.

You can find more detailed guidance on controls relevant to your business and our in-house assessment team will also give you suggestions on anything they feel is missing.

Record your findings

If you employ 5 or more people, you must record your significant findings, these include.

  • the hazards (things that may cause harm)
  • who might be harmed and how
  • what you are doing to control the risks
  • To help you, we have a risk assessment template and examples. Do not rely purely on paperwork as your main priority should be to control the risks in practice.

 

Review your controlling measures

Once the controlling measures have been put in place you must review them to make sure they are working as you would have hoped. You should also review them if any of the following scenarios could take place:

  • they may no longer be effective
  • there are changes in the workplace that could lead to new risks such as changes to staff, a process, the substances or equipment used
  • also consider a review if your workers have spotted any problems or there have been any accidents or near misses.

Update your risk assessment record with any changes you make.

 

Templates and examples

Here are some example scenarios from the HSE as to whether having a risk assessment would apply to your business or job role, especially for those who are self-employed. You can also find templates for work specific risk assessments on the HSE website.

Accountant – I am a self-employed accountant and I am proposing to take on a work placement student, will the law apply to me?

Yes, you will have duties as an employer and will need to take steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of your employees.

 

Employer – I am an employer, will this affect the way in which I manage sub-contractors?

No, as an employer you have duties under health and safety law to satisfy yourself that the contractor you choose can do the job safely and without risks to health. The proposed changes will not alter the duties you as an employer have to contractors.

 

Hairdresser – I’m a self-employed hairdresser, does the law apply to me?

If you use bleaching agents or similar chemicals then yes, the law will apply to you. If you are simply washing and cutting hair, then health and safety law will no longer apply.

 

Dressmaker – I work at home altering garments and making soft furnishings, does the law apply to me?

No, health and safety law will not apply to you.

 

Photographer – I take photographs of weddings and special occasions for clients which means that sometimes they visit my studio to discuss arrangements; does the law apply to me?

No, health and safety law will not apply to you.

 

Artist – I produce cards, gifts and pictures for sale at markets and fairs, does the law apply to me?

No, health and safety law will not apply to you.

 

Baker – I run a cake business from home, does the law apply to me?

No, health and safety law will not apply to you.

 

Office work – I work in an office at home, does the law apply to me?

It doesn’t depend on whether you’re at home; it is the work activity that matters. So, if you’re working on a client’s accounts, the law will no longer apply. If you’re writing a manual, which someone will use to operate machinery, then the law will still apply.

 

Advice – I am a health and safety consultant and visit clients to give advice, does the law apply to me?

Yes, your clients will act on your advice and this affects how other people do their job.

 

Landlords – I let rooms and properties to tenants; does the law apply to me?

Yes, you have specific responsibilities under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations

 

For the full Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 use the link below.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/3242/contents/made

SMAS Worksafe PQQ

Worksafe Assist – achieve compliance

Take the first steps to becoming an environmentally friendly business with the help and support of SMAS Worksafe’s Assist membership package.

If you take out our Worksafe PQQ accreditation but require more help with your businesses environmental procedures then Assist is the package for you.

Why choose Assist?

  • Construction businesses are increasingly asked to demonstrate sustainable processes
  • Many UK businesses do not have the time or expertise to do this themselves
  • SMAS Worksafe can produce a practical environmental management system for a business to use, at a fraction of the price you would pay a consultant
  • As an Assist customer, you will also receive check-ins from one of our environmental assessors and an annual health check to ensure your processes remain relevant.

Literally, everything we do has an impact on the environment.

From removing vegetation during groundworks, or purchasing a new vehicle, the choices we make have a wide range of impacts on the environment.

Environmental management is the framework and processes that a business can implement so that it can understand what it does that causes an impact on the environment and how it can reduce those effects.

Driving vehicles, extracting materials, removing waste products from site – all of these things have the potential to impact the environment in some way; whether that be as a consequence on air, water, atmosphere or wildlife. It is more important than ever that UK construction businesses understand what they can do to reduce or eliminate the negative impacts it might have.

Almost every business we speak to wants to do the right thing but just does not have the time or expertise to know how to change things. Here is where we can help…

We completely understand that implementing an environmental management system can be time-consuming and confusing. We also know that the perception of many Worksafe members is that it can also be very expensive.

That is where we are here to help.

Members who want to put in place a practical, easy to follow, environmental management system can now apply to take up our ASSIST package of support.

Once signed up, one of our expert environmental assessors will contact you for a brief interview and after that, they will go away to produce you a working management system that you can implement into your business right away. We will take into account the size of your business and the work you carry out to ensure that the outcome is that you are provided with a management system that is affordable to put into practice and which will give your clients (existing and prospective) confidence that you do the right thing and can meet the sustainable obligations in your contracts.

Speak to a member of our team about how you can benefit from Assist!  

And start your environmental journey to becoming a sustainable UK business.

Stonebond and SMAS announcement

Stonebond Properties choose SMAS Worksafe

SMAS Worksafe are delighted to announce that Stonebond Properties have chosen us and their health and safety regulators. All Stonebond contractors will now be required to hold a SSIP certificate issued by SMAS Worksafe to engaged on any Stonebond construction project.

Since 1975, Stonebond have set the standard for housebuilding across the South East of the UK. Over time, they have mastered the art of placemaking, crafting aspirational homes with expertise and passion that go above the expected. They’re a family business with house building in their heritage, their journey began in 1958 with the founding of Countryside, who today, are one of the UK’s largest new homes builders.

The vision for Stonebond is simple – to create a lasting legacy that redefines housebuilding through experience, expertise, and skill; creating the legacy means making sure their sites are safe for all those who work on them, which is why we’re delighted to announce that we will be overseeing the health and safety accreditation’s of all their contractors to deliver just that.

Chris Woodward-Biddle, Commercial Director at SMAS Worksafe said of the partnership, “SMAS Worksafe are delighted to support Stonebond Properties providing Supply Chain Management, and H&S accreditation services. This partnership cements our ongoing commitment to safety within the house-building sector and we are excited to work with Stonebond, helping them maintain their already high standards.”

Paul Kelly – Commercial Director at Stonebond Properties added, “We are pleased to announce that we have partnered with SMAS Worksafe to manage our Contractors’ Health & Safety.  Our Company is committed to ensuring that all members of our supply chain are health & safety compliant. We pride ourselves on setting high standards and our new partnership with SMAS Worksafe will continue to help us to deliver in a key area of our business.”