The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) plans to update its basic guide to risk assessment to allow duty holders to use documents such as safety data sheets as written evidence of an assessment.
The proposed change is part of the HSE’s attempt to protect businesses from so-called “blue tape” in which customers, insurers or consultants insist on dedicated forms for all assessments. The executive plans to insert two new paragraphs in its leaflet INDG163: Risk Assessment: a brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace. These suggest duty holders should resist pressure to create unnecessary assessments and may contact its Myth Busters Challenge Panel if they are asked to exceed legal requirements. The panel was set up in 2012 to rebut unfounded claims that measures were required by health & safety law.
On its website, the HSE says the requirements for employers with more than five employees to record significant risks can be satisfied in documents such as workplace housekeeping rules, manufacturers’ instructions, training materials, method statements and safety data sheets for chemicals.
“A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork,” said the HSE. “It is about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace. We want to put more emphasis on controlling risks and less on written assessments without reducing standards.”
The proposed additions to INDG163 are expected early this year.