In an earlier blog I reviewed HSE’s new ’20 minute’ online risk assessment tool. It came out quite well. Since then they’ve introduced two more variants. One for shops and one for class rooms. I thought I’d take a look at these too and report how they work.
The shop version is just for small, low risk establishments. It doesn’t really relate to shops which have special risks like health/beauty and food preparation – it doesn’t for example cover the use of chemicals (except under ‘cleaning’). instead it directs you to other specific example risk assessments in its data bank.
They freely admit that this is just a demo version rather than the full thing. Once again., like the office variant it takes you through hazard categories that it thinks are likely to be present in most shops. This is of course different from offices. One notable addition is the issue of threat of robbery and violence.
Just like the office variant it has some common control measures ready to select – selecting them immediately incorporates them into the final risk assessment. There’s opportunity to add anything extra that you’re already doing or need to do in a free text box. The allocation of actions to specific individuals with timescales (and when it is completed) is a good action-tracking feature. Some of the measures are perhaps a little general in places (but that’s the nature of the beast and, in any case, it is intended for low risk shops so what could possibly go wrong?). The section on robbery and violence is more extensive and quite helpful in the options it presents.
The Fire section asks some basic questions and promises to link you to a specific fire risk assessment at the end (but doesn’t in this demo). The final section is a collection of bits lumped together as ‘other’. This gets you to think about whether issues such as asbestos might be a problem.
So, all in all, the approach is good and it should save a bit of time. The trouble with checklists can be that if it’s not on the list you can miss it. That said, this is for low risk places, so that’s probably not going to be that significant.