Risk Assessments for Locksmiths
Risk assessments are important to understand the hazards that could negatively impact on your ability to conduct business and carry out Locksmith services. Every company has a responsibility to complete a risk assessment so that their workplace, employees, and customers are safe; this also applies to Locksmiths as you will have to understand how your workplace could pose potential hazards to yourself and your customers.
An accident is an unplanned event that results in loss.
A hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm.
A risk is the possibility and severity of a negative event which results from a hazard.
What is a Risk Assessment?
A risk assessment is identifying and analysing potential events that might happen in the course of carrying out services that would have a negative impact. These risks are then determined in terms of danger level and are used to establish ways in which to reduce the risks.
When Do I Need to do a Risk Assessment?
You should complete a risk assessment before carrying out any job or service; this means that before you offer your Locksmith services you need to have completed some form of risk assessment. Furthermore, your risk assessment should be updated whenever a new situation arises and / or an accident occurring.
Risk Assessments as a Locksmith
Locksmiths are usually solo traders and tend to work alone or with a partner so it can be confusing to understand what extent a risk assessment needs to be carried out as most of the laws surrounding risk assessments only apply to companies with a certain number of employees. Even if you are a solo trader you need to complete a risk assessment to understand the hazards and risks, however if you have under 5 employees you don’t have to write down your risk assessment findings. With that being said, we and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) strong suggest that you complete a written risk assessment that documents your findings.
How to Identify the Severity of a Risk
One of the most important things to consider when completing a risk assessment is the severity of the risk. The way this is done is by comparing the likelihood of the risk with the potential impact which then gives a risk rating. Both likelihood and impact are rated on a scale of 1-5 which then allows for the assessor to access the severity of the risk. See the matrix below for identifying risk severity.
How to Conduct a Risk Assessment
1. Identify the Hazards
The first step is to identify the potential hazards in your working environment. This is everything from what could cause damage to the surroundings to customers to yourself.
Think about what dangers your might face on a day to day basis, you can take metal shavings as an example. When carrying out multiple Locksmith jobs, metal shavings can be produced and can be a potential hazard.
- Consider the risks of jobs
- Consider the risks of a working environment
- Consider potential hazards of equipment
- Consider the impact of any chemical or substances you use
- Understand the safe and unsafe ways to
- Hazardous Substances
- Lone Working
- Slips, Trips and Falls
- Working at Height
- Working in Confined Spaces
2. Identify Who Might be at Risk
Now that your hazards have been identified, you will need to identify who might be harmed by them. This may be yourself, a fellow worker or even a customer. You should identify which groups of people might be at risk, for example ‘customers’ or ‘people on site’.
Using the metal shaving example, metal shavings are the risk and those at risk are those in close proximity.
- Consider those at risk of the hazard
- Consider if particular group of people at more at risk than others
3. Evaluate the Seriousness of the Risks and Develop Control Measures
Now that you know the risks and who might be affected, you now have to consider how you reduce them. The law requires that you do everything ‘reasonably possible’ to protect people from harm. When developing control measures to reduce risks, consider what the best practise is, what you are currently doing and what controls you currently have in place and what could be improved. Improvements to control measures don’t need to be excessively costly; you can find simple ways to ensure that everyone stays as safe as possible.
For example, when working with metal shavings you have taken the precaution of wearing protective eye wear but what else could you do to reduce the risk to yourself and your customer. You could consider wearing cut resistant gloves to protect your hands and fingers whilst also making the point to ask customers to stand back so they are outside of a risky radius.
- Consider if you can get rid of the hazard completely
- Consider how to control the risk so that harm is minimised
- Consider how your current practises can and should be upgraded
4. Record Your Findings and Implement Them
If a workplace has five or more individuals, then the HSE requires that any risk assessments are documented in writing or electronically but we strongly advise that no matter the size of your company you keep a documented risk assessment. Recording findings in a risk assessment form is an easy way to track hazards, risks, and the measures in place.
- Include what hazards had been found
- Include whom might be affected
- Consider what controls need to be in place
5. Review the Assessment as often as Necessary
A risk assessment should be reviewed regularly to ensure it is up to date and relevant. Likewise, should situations change, such as you start to offer a new Locksmith service, you should update your risk assessment accordingly.
- Update after any significant changes
- Update after an accident has occurred
For more information about risk assessments, visit the Health and Safety Executive website.