MSD Tool - Frequency of assessments

As an employer, you're required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum you must do is:

  • identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn't possible, control the risk.

However, nothing stays the same for ever. Your manual handling risk assessment should be reviewed regularly to ensure that the risk of staff being harmed has not changed and that no further control measures are needed. It should also be reviewed if any changes occur in your business that may increase the risk of harm.

There is no legal time frame for when you should review your risk assessment. It is at your discretion to decide when a review is deemed necessary, but risk assessments are a working document and, as your business experiences change, this information should be recorded and updated. As a guide, it is recommended that risk assessments be reviewed on an annual basis.

You must review the controls you have put in place to make sure they are working. You should also review them if:

  • they may no longer be effective
  • there are changes in the workplace that could lead to new risks such as changes to:
    • staff
    • a process
    • the substances or equipment used.

Also consider a review if your workers have spotted any problems or there have been any accidents or near misses.

As each organisations structure and risk profile is different, each organisation will need to decide on the frequency of the assessments completed, below are example approaches that could be adopted to manage manual handling risks.

Annual assessments

  • We recommend setting up a separate assessment in the system each year.
  • The annual assessment is to assess all manual handling tasks within an organisation.
  • You may choose to require all manual assessments to be completed within a set time scale (e.g. 3 months).

Review controls / follow up assessments

We recommend setting up a separate follow up review assessment to reassess the tasks that have a high risk and/or that had substantial control measures put in place. These assessments will act as a review of control measures and identify if additional control measures are required to reduce the risks further.

Assessors name

You can add the names of up to 10 assessors, this allows you to filter and provide a consolidated report specifically for all the tasks an assessor has completed.

Changes to assessments

Where there has been a significant change that may increase the risk of harm, tasks should be reassessed. We recommend setting assessments up on an ad hoc basis, e.g. a warehouse operation has moved to a new location.

Regular assessments

Some high manual handling risk organisations may opt to regular assessments on a quarterly or monthly basis as part of a continual monitoring programme.

The premium tool supports the name of assessments and folder structure to enable you to store and access completed assessment reports easily.