Dynamic Risk Assessments

What are dynamic risk assessments, and why are they used?

Health and safety law requires employers to protect their employees from harm. A crucial part of doing so is completing a risk assessment, in which the risks and hazards present in a workplace are identified, and measures are put in place to control them.

However, some employees may work in high-risk environments that can change suddenly, making some risks challenging to foresee. If this is the case, employees may need to carry out a dynamic risk assessment to ensure their safety and be aware of their surroundings and the risks they face.

This article will define 'dynamic risk assessment' and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about them.

Completing a risk assessment

What is a dynamic risk assessment?

A dynamic risk assessment is a process in which a worker continually assesses the risks and hazards in their work environment. They are commonly used by lone workers and those that work in rapidly changing and/or high-risk environments.

Unlike formal risk assessments, which are a legal requirement and completed before any work begins, dynamic risk assessments are carried out by a person when they enter a new environment or when their current working environment changes. They help a person identify any unknown risks and are not a replacement for a formal risk assessment.

What is the purpose of a dynamic risk assessment?

Conducting a dynamic risk assessment allows a person to identify the risks associated with their working environment and establish what they can do to avoid experiencing harm. They are designed to complement a formal risk assessment and help a worker to identify those hazards that could not be reasonably foreseen.

Let's look at an example of how a dynamic risk assessment may be used in practice: a plumber who visits a range of different homes while completing their work. Each of these homes will have various hazards, such as the presence of trip hazards, hazardous substances, and potentially violent clients.

Upon arrival, the plumber should complete a dynamic risk assessment to help them identify these hazards, understand how the risk level each of them poses can be reduced, and protect themselves and those around them from being harmed.

When is a dynamic risk assessment used?

Dynamic risk assessments are mainly used by those who are lone working, completing a high-risk activity, or working in an environment that could suddenly change. Some workers that commonly use dynamic risk assessments include:

  • Emergency service workers
  • Tradespeople
  • Care workers
  • Retail staff
  • Security operatives

These workers should carry out a dynamic risk assessment when they enter a new environment, such as a person's home, or when a potentially dangerous situation arises, such as a customer becoming violent in a nightclub.

What are the benefits of a dynamic risk assessment?

Completing these risk assessments has a range of benefits for workers and their employers, including allowing workers to:

  • Work more confidently and comfortably, because they will not be fearful of the hazards and risks around them.
  • Protect themselves and those around them by changing how they work to avoid coming into contact with specific hazards.

Staff members that are required to complete dynamic risk assessments regularly should be provided with appropriate training, and a dynamic risk assessment template, to help them understand how to do so effectively. At Commodious, we offer a range of relevant courses, such as our:

We also provide IOSH Working Safely and IOSH Managing Safely courses, which can help you and your staff look after the health and safety of themselves and those around them while at work.

  • Risk Assessment