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How does a risk assessment have to be performed?

It is important that you (prematurely) develop an awareness for the potential hazards in your company and identify where there is a need for action – before something happens!

General rules

There are principles you should consider at all times:

  • The extent of your risk assessment is oriented on the requirements and circumstances in your company. Take into consideration all foreseeable procedures in your company. These also include events and tasks taking place outside of the “normal” operating conditions, such as maintenance work, commissioning and decommissioning activities, approach in the event of malfunctions, cleaning, or auxiliary tasks, such as waste management.
  • Get a systemic idea of the hazards in your company. Structure the risk assessment in such a way that all identifiable risks and hazards are considered. The Occupational Health and Safety Act includes exemplary references to the following hazard sources: methods, procedures, working times, insufficient qualification and instruction of the employees.
  • As soon as a hazard has been identified, clarify how the hazard can be eliminated or reduced.
  • The risk assessment is required for every executed activity and every workstation, respectively. Regarding similar business premises, identical methods, and identical workstations, it is sufficient to assess one workstation or one activity.
  • If, for non-stationary workstations, specific hazards caused by the local circumstances are present, a workstation-related risk assessment must be performed.

Duty of documentation

The duty of the employer to document the entire process ensures increased transparency and bindingness. You may use the documentation of the risk assessment as the basis for:

  • the organisational implementation of the risk assessment,
  • controlling the necessary occupational safety and health measures,
  • evidence to be provided for regulating authorities,
  • reviews in case of changing circumstances.

Additional information on the duty to document can be found in our section Basic knowledge >> What approach do I use? >> Documentation

Participation of the employees

You should involve the employees during the entire process and already when collecting the facts. Please note that works council representatives and staff councils have rights of co-determination regarding the risk assessment. This is also applicable to the selection of the method. Employees and/or their representatives have the right/are obliged:

  • to participate in the risk assessment,
  • to inform their line managers or employer regarding known hazards,
  • to report changes to the workstation,
  • to obtain information on the hazards for their safety and health and the required measures for eliminating or reducing these hazards,
  • to request the employer to take suitable measures and make suggestions for reducing the hazards or for eliminating the hazard at the source,
  • to cooperate so that the employer is enabled to guarantee a safe work environment,
  • to be interviewed when the documentation for the risk assessment is developed.