General terms

Risk assessment

Risk assessment is an important tool in the health and safety area and is based on Section 5 of the German Act on the Implementation of Measures of Occupational Safety and Health: "The employer shall determine which measures of occupational safety and health are necessary by assessing the risk to workers associated with their work.” The formal framework, structure and further information have also been taken up and specified in more detail by the DGUV (German statutory accident insurance association).

Who has to prepare risk assessments?

Employers are under obligation to prepare risk assessments. They may, however, cooperate with internal or external experts in this respect.
When preparing a risk assessment, the health and safety officer, company doctor or other individuals may also be consulted.

Which risks need to be addressed?

The German Act on the Implementation of Measures of Occupational Safety and Health defines six factors which may particularly give rise to risks:

  1. The design and setup of the workstation and the work place
  2. Physical, chemical and biological impacts
  3. The design, selection and use of work equipment, in particular of agents, machines, equipment and plant, as well as their handling
  4. The design of the working and production methods, work processes and working time and their interplay
  5. Insufficient qualification and training of the workers
  6. Psychological stress at work

Hazards vs. risks

In contrast to a risk, the term hazard is used to describe an event that causes harm or a health impairment, irrespective of the probability of its occurrence and the associated consequences. The term hazard allows you to assess potential danger and weigh up the risks in advance.

A risk assessment, therefore, evaluates how high the risk is that a hazard will turn into a danger. The possible consequences as a result of this danger are also assessed in relation to the probability of occurrence. As a result of the hazards identified in the risk assessment, effective measures are derived to prevent or reduce the risks.

Principle of risk assessment

The basic principle on which risk assessment is based is the PDCA cycle (also known as the Deming circle). The most important statement contained in this principle is the following: "Risk assessment is an ongoing process that is repeated again and again”. You could also say that: "You've never quite finished doing a risk assessment."

According to the "PDCA cycle", a risk assessment is carried out in four steps which are regularly repeated.

P: Plan | Identify, assess, define the risks
D: Do | Implement protective measures
C: Check | Check the effectiveness
A: Act | Continue the risk assessment process

Risk of falling

In general, falls are associated with higher risk levels, whereby the expected damage to an individual’s health is immense - often leading to death. For this reason, the subject of risk assessment is very important where individuals work high up.

Carrying out risk assessment and implementing the resulting measures conscientiously are the basis for working safely at heights.

Support with the preparation of risk assessments

The German statutory accident insurance association (DGUV) offers regular seminars on the subject of risk assessment. These seminars provide a good introduction to the topic and deal with risk assessment in general.

If you have any specific questions on the “risks associated with falls” or "high-altitude workplaces and access routes", please do not hesitate to contact us.

We also provide a range of safety products, personal protective equipment and appropriate instruction to help you to implement the respective measures.