How often should risk assessments be carried out?

Risk assessments are vital in any industry, they help minimise injuries and subsequent liability insurance claims. How often risk assessments are carried out can be vital in ensuring you are compliant. In the care industry however, there are extra factors to consider which make risk assessments even more important, particularly fire safety assessments.

What is a risk assessment? 

Carrying out a risk assessment is a vital part of health and safety procedure for any organisation. They help to identify and control risk, whilst providing logical and practical precautions which prevent accidents and injury. They enable organisations to:

  • Spot potential risks
  • Put procedure in place to mitigate risk
  • Monitor those risks and spot new ones as they arise

When should a risk assessment be carried out?

There are no set time-scales for how often a risk assessment should be carried out but here are a few examples of key times to consider:

  1. In advance of every new activity or event
  2. Periods of high staff turn over
  3. New equipment or machinery
  4. When new procedures are introduced
  5. For insurance purposes

Let's take a closer look at the points above: 

In advance of every new activity or event- any new event or procedure will bring about new risks which must be assessed and accounted for.

Periods of high staff turn over- in the care industry this is particularly important in the event of a fire as staff members are responsible for the evacuation of less capable residents.

New equipment or machinery- all members of your team need to be aware of regulations created around new equipment machinery.

When new procedures are introduced- Once new procedures are introduced they may supersede any previous protocols outlined in your last risk assessment. On that basis a new risk assessment should go hand in hand with all new procedures to ensure new risks are properly managed.

For insurance purposes- Often insurers will insist on risk assessments being carried out as a requirement of care home liability insurance policies.

Please be aware this is not a complete list and there will be variations depending on the type of organisation.

With regards to the care industry, it’s important to remember that members of staff such as nurses, carers, medical practitioners, managers and volunteers must all be aware of the procedures and guidelines set out by the undertaking of your risk assessment.

Read more about Carrying out a Risk Assessment.

Fire safety risk assessments

A fire-related risk assessment can be carried out every time the overall risk assessment is conducted or as a separate entity. Residential care homes may opt to conduct them more frequently depending on its residents and staff turnover. High or not, staff turnover is a major contributing factor when considering how often you should be assessing fire risks.