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'Is there a difference between a baseline risk assessment and a generic risk assessment?'

by , 04 March 2015
Our health and safety experts get a lot of questions about risk assessments on the Health and Safety Club.

One question that keeps coming up over and over is whether there's a difference between a baseline risk assessment and a generic risk assessment.

The short answer is 'yes'.

Keep reading to get our experts' explanation on the differences between the two so you can conduct 100% legally compliant risk assessments.

Explained: The difference between a baseline risk assessment and a generic risk assessment

Baseline risk assessment – According to the experts at the Health and Safety Club, a baseline assessment is the initial assessment of risk in a workplace. It's a broad assessment and includes all activities that take place in your workplace.
On the other hand, a generic risk assessment is an assessment you use to assess risks where employees do the same type of work, but at different workplaces. For example, you do a generic risk assessment at a number of your warehouses that store similar goods. And where employees do the work the same way.
This assessment is only valid for work activities that are clearly similar, with comparable levels of risk and which require the same type of precautionary measures to control.
While these two risk assessments are different from each other, the way you conduct them is the same.
Here are the steps you need to take …
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Take this quick quiz to find out if you can handle the DoL hot seat
  • Which risk assessments have to be checked by an approved inspector every two years?
  • Is it absolutely necessary for your company to appoint and train someone as a risk assessor?
  • When was the last time you did a risk assessment? (Is that too long?)
  • Have you checked and double checked the less obvious health hazards?

If you can't answer even one of these questions you're not only putting your employee's lives at risk; you're also putting yourself in danger of massive fines from the DoL.
Don't wait until it's too late.
Learn how to do your risk assessments correctly here.


Follow these five steps when to conduct a baseline and generic risk assessment

Step #1: Gather as much information as possible
  • Collect information about the work your employees do.
Step #2: Analyse the tasks employees perform and identify hazards
  • Watch your employees as they work to see what dangers they face.
Step #3: Identify risks
  • After you identify hazards, identify the risks related to each.
Step #4: Quantify the risk
  • Before you decide on safety measures to implement, quantify the risks (rate them from low to high). This helps you identify high risks and gives you an indication of where you should target resources first.
Step #5: Implement precautionary measures or health and safety risk controls
When you're aware of the risks and know which ones to address first, consider the precautionary measures to take.
In this article, we explain that there's a specific order you must follow to put risk controls in place. You must first:
  • Eliminate the risk;
  • Change your process or some part of it to reduce risks;
  • Use engineering controls; and
  • Have signage and administrative controls in place.
Click here to discover a practical example that shows you how to stick to this order when putting health and safety risk controls in place.
Now that you know the difference between a baseline risk assessment and a generic risk assessment, check out Risk Assessment: The 100% legally compliant risk assessment toolkit. It contains the other two types of risk assessments you must conduct and gives more detail on the steps above.

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