Risk Assessment Law

Civil law and the duty of care

Under the common law, voluntary organisations and individual volunteers have a duty of care to each other and others who may be affected by their activities. Where something goes wrong, individuals may, in some cases, sue for damages using the civil law if they are injured as a result of another person’s negligence. Health and Safety Executive

The law states that a risk assessment must be 'suitable and sufficient', i.e. it should show that:

  • a proper check was made
  • you asked who might be affected
  • you dealt with all the obvious significant risks, taking into account the number of people who could be involved
  • the precautions are reasonable, and the remaining risk is low
  • you involved your workers or their representatives in the process

The level of detail in a risk assessment should be proportionate to the risk and appropriate to the nature of the work. Insignificant risks can usually be ignored, as can risks arising from routine activities associated with life in general, unless the work activity compounds or significantly alters those risks.

Your risk assessment should only include what you could reasonably be expected to know - you are not expected to anticipate unforeseeable risks

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