See how we helped Michael

"Fantastic! The legal document I used was so comprehensive and easy to complete. It is very reassuring to know my business now has this level of protection"

Michael S, London

Risk assessments

Risk assessments

Related services

The risk assessment

You're legally required to examine your workplace for any risks to your workforce. This process is called a risk assessment (The 5-step approach to risk assessments).

It allows you to plan how to remove or control the risk, and consider whether your current measures are good enough.

The Health and Safety Executive describes 5 steps to take in order to assess the risks in your workplace:

1. Identify the hazards

2. Decide who might be harmed and how

3. Evaluate the risks and decide whether the existing measures are good enough

4. Record your findings and apply them

5. Review your assessment and change it if necessary

If you're a small business and you already know what the risks are, you could probably do the assessment yourself. If you're a larger business, you could ask a health and safety adviser to help you. You'll still be responsible for seeing that it is done properly.

Although you only have to record your risk assessment in writing if you have 5 or more employees, creating supporting documentary evidence of how you've conducted the assessment will be useful if you're investigated by the HSE or subject to any claim.

The risk assessment should be shared and discussed directly with your staff unless you recognise any trade unions, in which case it should be shared and discussed with them instead.

There are 2 sets of regulations that set out how you must consult with your staff and any trade union. Which one you need to comply with depends on whether you recognise a trade union and have appointed trade union representatives.

You can find out which law applies to you by using the HSE flowchart. Once you know which applies, you can read the HSE guidance on how to consult and involve your employees and their representatives on health and safety matters in a way that complies with these regulations.

The fire risk assessment

You must also carry out a fire risk assessment (Before you begin). You must examine your premises to identify possible fire hazards and plan how to reduce these risks. It'll help you ensure that your fire safety procedures, fire prevention measures and fire precautions (plans, systems and equipment) are all in place and working properly.

Vulnerable employees

When carrying out a risk assessment, you must pay particular attention if you employ vulnerable people, such as Children and young people or Expectant mothers. There will be more risks specific to them, which you'll need to look out for.


It's no longer a legal requirement in England, Wales or Scotland to do a specific COVID-19 risk assessment in all workplaces.

However, if you employ staff who run the risk of being infected because of their type of work, you'll still have to specifically consider these risks in your risk assessment and implement control measures.

You will also need to specifically consider the risks posed by COVID-19 if you employ workers who are more vulnerable to being infected and becoming seriously ill, such as those who are immunosuppressed, pregnant or previously considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable.

Guidance published for the 4 UK nations setting out the best way to protect workers remain relevant.

In the guidance for England, the aim is to learn to live safely with COVID-19 by taking steps in the workplace to reduce the risks of passing it on and protect staff against other respiratory illnesses as a result.

Guidance for Wales strongly recommends that employers continue to follow public health control measures to mitigate against not only COVID-19 transmission but also the spread of other communicable diseases.

The guidance for Scotland recommends that employers continue to consider the risks of spreading and exposing workers to COVID-19 as part of their statutory health and safety risk assessment and to take action to manage and control that risk.

In Northern Ireland, the guidance emphasises that employers must do what is reasonably practicable to protect their staff and members of the public. The advice includes supporting staff from vulnerable groups to work from home where needed.

Copyright © 2024 Epoq Group Ltd. All trademarks acknowledged, all rights reserved

This website is operated by Epoq Legal Ltd, registered in England and Wales, company number 3707955, whose registered office is at 2 Imperial Place, Maxwell Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 1JN. Epoq Legal Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 645296).

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We would also like to set some optional cookies. We won't set these optional cookies unless you enable them. Please choose whether this site may use optional cookies by selecting 'On' or 'Off' for each category below. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookie notice.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Functionality cookies

We'd like to set cookies to provide you with a better customer experience. For more information on these cookies, please see our cookie notice.