Risk assessment (explanation)

Topic: Risk assessment

A risk assessment is the key instrument for systematic and effective occupational safety. The obligation of the employer / person(s) responsible to carry out and document risk assess-ments arises from a range of laws:

  •  Act on the Implementation of Measures of Occupational Safety and   Health to En-courage Improvements in the Safety and Health Protection of Workers at Work (Ar-beitsschutzgesetz),
  •  Industrial Safety Regulation (Betriebssicherheitsverordnung)
  •  Workplace regulations (Arbeitsstättenverordnung)
  •  Biological Agents and Hazardous Substances Ordinance (Bio- und Gefahrstoffver-ordnung)
  •  Noise and Vibrations Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (Lärm-Vibrations-Arbeitsschutzverordnung)
  •  Ordinance on Health and Safety Requirements for the Manual Handling of Loads at Work (Lastenhandhabungsverordnung), among others.

The aim of a risk assessment is the systematic determination and evaluation of risks and stresses to employees, in order to specify the necessary measures for health and safety in the workplace. The risk assessment must be documented.

The risk assessment must be carried out before beginning a task. It must regularly be checked and updated.
Reasons for an update can be

  • Acquiring and using new equipment or materials,
  • Changes to working procedures and processes,
  • Changes to regulations or the latest technologies,
  • The occurrence of accidents or occupational illnesses.

Contact the occupational safety experts, in-house doctors and staff councils for advice.

The approach

Vorgehensweise Gefährdungsbeurteilung.jpg


Determining responsibilities

Before you start, determine who will carry out the risk assessment and who should be in-volved in carrying it out. The risk assessment must be carried out by qualified individuals. In-volve your employees - they know the work stations best.
Enter the essential data on the cover sheet.

Cover sheet.doc

Recording workspaces and tasks

In the second step, you record all workspaces, work stations or tasks.
Workspaces can be, for example, offices, labs, workshops, storerooms, outdoors, green-houses or stables/barns.
Tasks can be, for example, 'operating the machine/device XY'. 

Specifying workspaces work stations tasks.xlsx

Identifying the risks and evaluating whether action needs to be taken

An assessment of one work station or one task is sufficient if the work stations or tasks are the same, and as long as the risks are identical.
In laboratories, the risks are assessed related to the task.

Use existing documents which could help you with the risk assessment, such as:

  • manufacturer's instruction manuals for machines,
  • operating instructions for machines and hazardous substances, handling instructions,
  • the list of equipment with the set inspection periods,
  • the hazardous substances register in accordance with the Hazardous Substances Or-dinance,
  • any existing workspace analyses, reports, measurement records.

An overview of the risk and stress factors should help you identify risks.

Overview of risk and stress factors.xlsx

Determining concrete protective objectives and measures

Determine the necessary protective measures based on the risks identified.
Remember the following ranking when selecting suitable measures:



Implementing measures and checking the effectiveness of the measures

Determine which appropriate individuals will implement the measures and set a date.
After the measures have been implemented, they must be checked for effectiveness. If the measure is insufficient, further measures must be initiated.

Updating the risk assessment

The risk assessment must be kept up to date.  Check the risk assessment at least once a year.