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Carrying out a Risk Assessment

A Risk Assessment identifies risks to staff and patients and the steps needed to reduce those risks and so minimise accidents, injuries, and incidents.

The Health and Safety Executive recommends that a trained, ‘competent person’ carries out Risk Assessments. They should have the knowledge, skills and qualifications to successfully undertake this job.

For background information about what a Risk Assessment should cover, the TUC Worksmart site includes What are the five steps to risk assessment?

The Health & Safety Executive also has guidance on what a risk assessment should achieve and how to make an assessment

What does a Risk Assessment do?

The key principles of a Risk Assessment are to:

  1. Identify hazards in the department. Anything that may cause injury or harm to patients, carers, staff or visitors. (This is not just physical hazards but may include psychological risks caused by long hours, lack of breaks, badly designed technology, unreasonable working practices.)
  1. Who is at risk of harm and how are they at risk? This includes everyone who visits the department, whatever their role.
  1. How serious are the risks? It’s important to assess the level of risk, ie how likely the risk is to cause harm. Is the risk high, medium, or low? What action needs to be taken to reduce a high risk to as low a level as possible?
  1. Record, record, record. There must be a record of the risk assessment, when it was carried out, the findings, and what actions were taken and when to minimise the identified risks.
  1. Review. Risk Assessments need to be periodically reviewed and updated. Has anything changed in the department that requires a review? Are people still aware of safety procedures and are they aware of the risks?

Many employers have service-wide policies and procedures in place and usually what is needed is an assessment of the risks specific to radiology and therapeutic radiography.

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