The IOSH risk assessment form is part of the formal assessment for the IOSH Managing Safely qualification.
The risk assessment form puts everything you’ve learnt on the course to the test and needs to be filled out within a fortnight of the course end. You have two hours to clearly highlight four hazards in your workplace and how you would deal with them.
Marked out of 38, you need a score of 23 to pass. At first, it may seem daunting, but never fear! Here are four expert tips for filling it out. Follow these guidelines and all your hard work on the course will be worth it!
1. Remember the examiner is unfamiliar with your workplace
Always keep in mind that the person marking your IOSH risk assessment form is unlikely to know what your place of work looks like. So you need to put all your information into context for them. Be very clear and concise when describing the area you are examining.
The top section of the form where you fill out basic information like the date and time is worth one mark so should be very easy! Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking that minimal marks means minimal information.
Under ‘Work Area’ and ‘Task Being Assessed’, provide details that will help your examiner to better understand what you are looking at.
Include extra details about the nature of the work area, for example, how many people work in it, its size and what the area is used for. When describing the task you’re exploring, be specific here too. If you are monitoring employees taking down scaffolding from a five-story office building, include information about the building, the surroundings, the ground level environment, the weather and so on. Don’t just write Dismantling scaffolding and think that’s enough.
Your description should be comprehensive enough to offer your examiner enough detail so they can visualise the situation and put your identified hazards and recommendations into context.
Also, keep in mind that the form will have a word limit, so be as concise in your detail as possible. Get someone else to proofread your form before submitting it to catch any vague descriptions.
2. Make sure your identified hazards are actually hazards.
The second section comprises of four rows, one for each of the four hazards you identify. There are nine columns in each row, all worth one mark each. Here’s the catch though. If you put a hazard in the first column that isn’t actually a realistic hazard, no matter what you write in the rest of that row, you’ll lose all nine points because you aren’t assessing a real risk.
So, expert tip number two is to make sure your identified hazards are actually real hazards!
The point of the IOSH risk assessment is to see how you identify and address risks so if you don’t properly identify a risk, you’ve fallen at the first hurdle.
When you outline your four hazards, make sure that your description is rich. If the hazard is that someone might fall from a height when working on scaffolding, don’t just write Falling hazard.
Write exactly what might happen to someone, including all the Ws. Who, when, where, why and how. (Okay, that last one isn’t a W.)
This shows you have fully understood the nature and depth of the risk. Follow this link for an IOSH risk assessment example entry.
3. Be realistic with your risk rating.
After you’ve identified your hazards, you need to rate them in terms of the intensity of the risk. Your examiner will be looking to see how you’ve come to your risk rating so make sure it is realistic.
The risk rating column is divided into three parts labelled L (likelihood of hazard occurring), C (intensity of consequence should the hazard occur) and R (overall risk rating).
Taking into account the existing risk control measures you previously mentioned, your rating should be calculated using the IOSH 5×5 risk rating calculator, which works by multiplying together your rating out of five for likelihood and consequence.
The examiner will use the information you have provided and determine their own risk rating. They will award you a mark if your rating is within a ±1 range of theirs.
Based on the existing controls and your risk rating, you’ll need to show you understand what additional controls to put in place and then be able to determine a new risk rating, following the same formula based on these proposed new controls.
4. Be specific in your suggested action guidelines.
The final two columns — Action/Monitored by whom? and Action/Monitored by when? — round off your risk assessment. To show the examiner that you have fully understood the process, you need to be very specific here.
Under Action/Monitored by whom?, you need to allocate a specific job to an individual with a specific job title, demonstrating that you know what action must be taken and who is best fit for the job.
Under Action/Monitored by when?, you need to fill in a specific date to show you have understood the level of urgency that the problem carries.
Consider your existing and suggested risk control measures when deciding on the action to be taken and account for the level of severity suggested by your risk rating when deciding how urgently action must be taken.
By following these four expert tips when filling out your IOSH risk assessment form, alongside all the information you have learnt on your course, you should be confident in achieving a strong pass! Follow this link for more information about IOSH courses through Safety Training Scotland.