This is the second article in the series on the contractor’s Health and Safety file, which is legally required when a contractor works on a customer’s site.

I will describe the Hazard and Risk Assessment process, but you can use the same format for the Environmental Aspects and Impacts Assessment. The scoring of the Aspects and Impacts Assessment is somewhat different to the Hazard and Risk Assessment. I usually do the two together and let the secretary sort them out later.

The first document I would put in a contractor’s Health and Safety File is the Risk Assessment.

I am starting with Hazard and Risk assessments because the Risk Assessment gives you a good idea of the other documents you may need.

The company (customer) should have a Hazard and Risk Assessment for the area where the contractor will be working. (If you don’t have a Hazard and Risk Assessment, this is a good time to do one.) However, the risks change, and need to be assessed, once a contractor is working on site. The contractor should also have a Hazard and Risk Assessment for the work he usually does. These two Hazard and Risk Assessments are a good starting point for the Hazard and Risk Assessment of the job the contractor will do.

The first step is for a responsible person (usually the person in charge of the job) from the contractor and a responsible person from the company to inspect the site. Note the hazards related to the contracting job. Do not evaluate the hazards at this stage.

The second step is to meet and document together the hazards and risks related to the job. This Hazard and Risk team should consist of the responsible persons who inspected the site, the contractor’s senior manager and the lowest ranked worker you can get who would be useful in a meeting. This is usually a supervisor or senior worker. (Such workers often know about hazards that their managers are unaware of.) A senior manager and the person in charge of the area being worked on should represent the company. One person acts as secretary and fills out the Hazard and Risk form.

There are various ways to document this and you can find different forms on the internet. I will describe the form and method I have used successfully and refined for the last twenty odd years.

I have laid out my form in landscape on an A3 paper, or two A4 papers, portrait, sellotaped together, to give the equivalent of a landscape A3 paper. At this point, I suggest you print a copy of the form, so you can refer to it. Here is a link to the Excel spreadsheet I use to record Hazard and Risk Assessments. Hazard and Risk Analysis

I fill the form in in columns and the column headings are:

  1. Headings: Plant, process, product name if applicable, date, location, person responsible and similar information. This is all at the top of the page.
  2. Activity: Describe the work the contractor must do.
  3. Number: This is simply as sequential number that allows sorting of the entries.
  4. Hazard, or for the environment “Activity”: There will be more one.
  5. Risk, or for the environment “Impact”: The Hazard is what could happen. The Risk is the potential consequence.
  6. Severity: This is a numeric between 1 and 10. We will come back to it later.
  7. Potential causes: There can be more than one cause for a hazard. I will explain Probability, Current controls and how we calculate Severity, Probability, Mitigation and SPN (Significance Priority Numbers) in the next article in this series of articles. I will also deal with corrective action and recalculating SPN.
  8. Probability: The theory is that the more frequently you do something the more likely it will go wrong. Murphy’s Law says, “If something can go wrong, it will go wrong,” we add, “If you do it often enough.” Therefore if we do something all the time we have a 100% chance of it going wrong. In the case of a contractor, doing a specific job, the chance of it going wrong is less. We have a table to estimate how much less that we will discuss later
  9. Current Controls to contain or prevent: This needs some explanation. The current controls are those controls that are in place by the company, or that are routinely in place by the contractor. If the control you think of is not routine, it belongs as a corrective action and comes later in the analysis. For example, if the area of work is inherently noisy, and that noise will continue during the contractors work, there will be a sign saying, “Wear hearing protection.” This applies to the contractor’s employees as well as everyone else and is a “current control.” If the contractor is going to cause the noise, in a normally quiet area, then you must protect the normal employees from noise induced hearing loss. This would be a corrective action and the answer under current controls would be “None.”
  10. Mitigation is a numeric value given to “Current Controls” and I will discuss this later.
  11. SPN, or Significance Priority Number, is a relative number calculated from Severity, Probability and Mitigation. We use it to apply the 80/20 rule, also called the Pareto analysis. This rule states that 80% of results come from of 20% of causes. For example, 80% of sales come from 20% of customers. 80% of customer complaints come from 20% of customers, not necessarily the same 20% of customers that provide 80% of sales.

In the case of Hazard and Risk Analyses, 20% of hazards cause 80% of injuries.

As we cannot eliminate all risk from work, we would never do anything. The Hazard and Risk Analysis is an attempt to isolate those 20% of hazards that are most likely (80%) to cause injuries and to safety proof against them.

There is a set of tables below the Hazard and Risk analysis form that I use to calculate Severity, Probability, Mitigation and, from them, the SPN. When I am conducting a Hazard and Risk Analysis, I fill in all the information to this point and then calculate Severity, Probability, and Mitigation and, from them, the SPN. I then sort out the top 20% SPNs for action. The team also applies common sense and adds items that, while they may not make the top 20%, are obviously sufficiently serious as to require corrective action. Remember that, while you hope it never happens, you may have to explain your decisions someday to a judge.

  1. Recommended Actions: Decide on and record “Recommended Actions and target date” for the 20% plus items you identified for action above.
  2. By: Record “Who” will carry out the action.

This is as far as the Hazard and Risk Analysis goes in the meeting. The secretary ensures that the Hazard and Risk Analysis is legible and gives copies to everyone at the meeting and to any action person not at the meeting. I usually type the Hazard and Risk assessment and then send it out to everyone, but typing is not essential.

The secretary follows up on the corrective action and the contractor does not proceed until the corrective action is complete. The team, or usually the secretary, recalculates the SPN, considering the completed corrective action. This documents the improvement.

You can decide to close the Hazard and Risk Analysis at this point or you can consider if any other items you think you should deal with.

Please contact me at if you would like any further information or help with Hazard and Risk Analyses. I am based in Boksburg, South Africa and my cell number is 083 316 6083.


green-ink This entry was posted in. Uncategorized Hazard and Risk Assessments.