Failing to carry out Risk Assessments could land you in more than hot water

Failing to carry out Risk Assessments could land you in more than hot water

Failure to carry out proper risk assessments can be a costly business, both personally and financially, as this example shows.

A groundworks company in the South East was employed to install a new fenced parking area. Whilst using an electric ground breaker to dig post holes, one of the operatives hit an 11,000 volt electricity cable. The resulting short caused a large flash and engulfed him in flames. He sustained serious burns to his face and chest,

The Health and Safety Executive investigation found that groundworks company had failed to source and refer to the underground services plans prior to breaking the ground to determine the location of any cables within the planned working area.

The penalty for the accident from HSE was almost £35,000. The compensation claim from the injured employee is still to be agreed.

Carrying out a proper risk assessment could have avoided this life changing incident. It is something required by law, and means you need to identify risks and ensure you have sensible measures in place to control risks in your workplace, and prevent harm to employees and the public.

To do this you need to think about what might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm. You don't have to be a health and safety expert to draft a risk assessment. When you are thinking about your risk assessment consider what the HSE say.

"a hazard is anything that may cause harm; these can be hazards to physical health such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer or to mental health – if, for example the common causes of work-related mental ill health e.g. demands, control and support for individuals are not properly managed in the workplace

the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be."

As part of our Heath and Safety Services we can recommend experts who can help you to identify, manage and control your risks.

Their services include:

  • Health & Safety audit
  • Risk assessment
  • Training courses
  • Consultancy services

As your broker, we are here to provide insurance built around you. For a personal approach to insurance and a chat about your needs, call us on 01494 450 450 or apply for a Quick Quote today.


Construction Enquirer

Health and Safety Executive