Risk: Helpful Tips

Jan 4, 2024

HCPG do not purport to be Health and Safety experts, but with the ongoing aim of facilitating a better understanding of this process. here is a revisit in the form of a blog.

When you create your risk assessments remember: –

  1. Use a standard template – this is professional and provides clarity and consistency.
  2. State the hazard/task to be reviewed.
  3. Score/colour code the severity -(a risk matrix can assist with this.) A sample can be seen below).
  4. Score/colour code the likelihood – again a risk matrix can help. (Remember it is usually easier to change the likelihood so focus here first.)
  5. List the changes you plan to make and repeat steps 3 and 4 – the score/colour should now illustrate a safer process – if NOT review and consider if this activity is essential or can stop.
  6. State a review date for the risk assessment.

You also need to have: –

  1. A process to record and review any incidents e.g. an adverse incident tracker. Remember your accident book is also part of your evidence and can support the investigation process paperwork.
  2. Evidence of your plans to audit the tracker- a simple diary entry (risk assessment audit and review) could be used. N.B this must be adhered to or changed. It should not be ignored.
  3. Evidence of any changes based on the findings of the audit – change any process/policy/risk assessment.

In the event of an actual incident, if you are challenged, all the above can be used.

You may be asked if it has happened before and if so, what have you done to try to prevent a recurrence? Would your risk assessment process evidence that you meet the professional standards and regulations and that you have a robust system?

To assist you keeping up to date with trends in your sector, sign up for free weekly updates from the HSE (Health and Safety Executive).

Were you aware that if there is an incident and a RIDDOR report is needed – the HSE levies a penalty fine if it is not filed in time. Therefore, keep a note of the relevant RIDDOR stipulated dates in your evidence.  (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.)1    A RIDDOR report may not be necessary but ensure you follow the HSE process if it is.

The changes you make based on incidents, whether it be policy, process, or training all can be used as evidence to illustrate service changes and learning. They can be a very useful part of your CPD and there are many documents you can reference to support your evidence.

“For HCPC registered professions: – The overarching HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics2  

Standard 6 for all stipulates all registrants must: –

6. Manage risk: Identify and minimise risk

Each profession has more specific detail e.g. HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Physiotherapists4

Standard 15 Physiotherapists3 must: –

15. Understand the need to establish and maintain a safe practice environment, be able to work safely, able to select appropriate hazard control and risk management, reduction, or elimination techniques in a safe manner and in accordance with health and safety legislation.

For physiotherapists: CSP Quality Assurance Standards5.

Standard 2 includes statement:

2.4 There is a systematic, proactive, and responsive approach to risk management that follows the organisation’s overall strategy.

For osteopaths, in Standard C Safety and Quality in Practice6 in C5 it states: –

C5. You must ensure that your practice is safe, clean, and hygienic, and complies with health and safety legislation.

For chiropractors Principle A of The Code7 stipulates that chiropractors must out the health interests of their patients first: –

A6: treat patients in a hygienic and safe environment.

Sample Risk Matrix:

In Summary:

There are numerous standards that can be referenced as part of your evidence and process for managing risk.

The changes made as part of your risk assessment process need to have an impact on the hazard of that task. The aim is to move as far as possible from the red and into the green.

In the event of an incident ensure any associated documentation is completed e.g., accident books, HSE RIDDOR reports (if applicable), incident tracker.

Remember not learning from an incident would not be seen as professional nor favourable if you were to be challenged.

Consider asking your peers who they use for health and safety advice or Google local providers for support.

Sign up to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) for healthcare alerts and free updates on trends they are seeing.

Visit the CSP website for more resources 7.

References and additional resources: –

  1. HSE RIDDOR – Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013, -Guidance
  2. HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics
  3. HCPC Standards of Proficiency Physiotherapists
  4. Quality Assurance Standards for physiotherapy service delivery
  5. C. Safety and Quality in Practice. Osteopathic Standards
  6. The Code (GCC Chiropractic)
  7. CSP Health and Safety Resources
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