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HSE asks for comments on proposed changes to guidance on risk assessment and hazardous substances in the workplace

11 October 2016

The UK Health & Safety Executive wants to make some changes to current guidance on risk and has asked for comments from stakeholders before it is published. The organisation is also inviting comments on a proposed review of regulations governing hazardous substances in the workplace. 

The HSE says it is concerned that many people see the requirement to record significant findings of a risk assessment as something separate from other things they do to manage their business.

"A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork – it is about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace. We want to put more emphasis on controlling risk and less on written assessments, without reducing standards," the HSE says on its website.

“We want to make it very clear to businesses that risk assessment should be part of day-to-day business management. Your risk assessment can be part of an existing business document, such as workplace ‘housekeeping’ rules, manufacturers’ instructions, training materials, method statements and safety data sheets.

“The main thing is to make sure the way you record your significant findings helps you manage risk well,” the HSE says.

The organisation has highlighted the proposed changes in its core leaflet Risk assessment: A brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace and says it wants to hear what stakeholders think, particularly:
* if the changes are helpful
* it is clear that you do not need to keep a special 'risk assessment' document
* it is clear that other documents you already have can do the same thing
* you think this works in practice and whether it would save you time

The HSE is also inviting comments on a proposed review of regulations governing hazardous substances in the workplace.

It says it is currently reviewing the regulations about controlling hazardous substances in the workplace, with the aim of making these more simple and straightforward without reducing the level of protection.

The regulations concerned are:
* The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) (COSHH);
* The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW); and
* The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).

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