Risk Assessment - ongoing list and development

Hi All,

As mentioned in several meetings, we need risk assessments producing for the space. I thought i’d create this wiki page to better outline some musings.

All tools should be covered by a risk assessment before being used in the space. A tool may be assessed as being covered by an already completed assessment.

Risk assessments should all go through the same process:

1. A member drafts a risk assessment.
Anyone is welcome to begin a risk assessment, we already have a template ready and an assessment rubrik. Please do not edit these documents directly, download a copy. There are comments throughout the template to provide prompts. The drafter should note their name and date at the bottom of the document.

2. Reviewed by competent person
A competent person is someone with skill and experience using the tool in question. If we do not have this person in Hackspace, it is fine for them to be external. There can be as many reviewers as necessary, so long as the number of reviewers does not begin to impede the process itself.

From this review feedback may be given and the draft may be revised.

3. Approved by competent person
Once all revisions have been made and comments resolved the document is considered approved. The reviewers should all note their names at the bottom of the risk assessment and the month and year of the review.

4. Added to Health & Safety File
The completed risk assessment is added to the health and safety file by the Board/H&S team. This is a Google Drive Folder and will soon be a physical folder in the space.

A purchase proposal is created or the board are contacted for any bits of PPE or other kit that the RA identified as necessary.

Periodic Reviews
Hackspace changes fairly slowly, therefore specific periodic reviews of risk assessments, though ideal, is likely to become too much of a burden and forgotten about. Instead, for items requiring an induction the risk assessments should be reviewed when a new trainer is being trained. This will form part of the process of the new trainer being onboarded. When the new trainer has reviewed the document, they should update ‘reviewed by/date’ at the bottom of the page.

For the everyday member being inducted, they should be shown/shared a copy of the risk assessment, even if this is just at the end of the induction while they fill in their ‘I have learned’ tick sheet. They don’t need a printed copy to take home, using the Hackspace physical RA folder will suffice.

For tools not requiring inductions, these risk assessments should be reviewed by the proposer when making a new purchase proposal. Otherwise reviews should ideally happen around every 3 years, by the subgroups and/or the board.

Communicating to membership
If the periodic reviews show up new risks:

  • Users of that tool can be emailed.
  • A notice can be put on the tool itself.
  • All users could be asked to be reinducted - this could be physical or virtual - e.g. video with quiz at end.

Making a post on telegram is not considered suitable to be the sole way to announce H&S changes.

Keeping track of RAs
Google drive does a pretty great job of keeping records of who updated what and when it was updated. This is probably therefore the easiest way to see what hasn’t been reviewed for a long time, as it requires no extra effort from us.

In the short term, we have a lot of new risk assessments that need writing. I have made a list below and made this post a wiki so tools can be added and removed as they are completed.

Risk Assessments To-Do List

Some tools may make sense to merge into existing risk assessments rather than start a brand new one, e.g. wood room pillar drill and metalwork pillar drill - the risks and controls are pretty similar.

To be started:

General Areas - covering general not-very-dangerous tools not covered elsewhere. These might all condense down into one bigger RA covering general Hackspace risks.
Electronics Area
Visual Arts

Air Compressor
Laser Cutter
Press brake
Resin 3D printer
Vacuum former
Vinyl Cutter
Spindle sander (belt sander already done if it can be combined)

Ready to be reviewed:
Ready to be reviewed Risk Assessments – Google Drive

Hazard prompt sheet:
Hazard Prompt Sheet for Risk Assessments - Google Docs

I’m not sure we need one for Oscilloscopes, it’s basically a fancy multimeter for measuring voltage over time on a graphical display.

Cool, thanks Richard. I put it on the list because it was done a while back in the old format, but I’ll take it off.

Can you think of anything in electronics that might need a risk assessment?

I’m looking to do the mill after tomorrow when I’m trained. I’ll also do welding if/when we get it sorted :crazy_face:

@Josephxtian here is the hazard prompt sheet I was telling you about

Do you mind putting that in the folder (if you think it would help)?

Cheers Mike. I’ve typed it up because i’m bored on a train and it means we can adapt it as we need in the future.

Hazard Prompt Sheet for Risk Assessments - Google Docs

Updated my post above also with the link.

Unless somebody else is on it, I’ll draft the initial risk assessment for the CNC room and the electronics area. I already did a draft for the CNC. I just need to convert it into your format.

Also, Joe, thank you for your efforts in helping to improve The Hackspace.

1 Like

Hi Everyone,

I’m currently in negotiations with our insurer as we’re due for renewal on the 13th March and one of the conditions of the terms is that tools must be risk assessed/have appropriate H&S policies in place. Thankfully we started this process 6 months ago, but there are still lots of outstanding risk assessments needing completing and reviewing.

Unfortunately without these risk assessments in place and approved we will be unable to use the tools as we won’t have accident cover, fire cover nor legal cover if something were to go wrong.

It is all (the entire membership)'s job to get these done, not just the handful of trainers who are already quite stretched between all the other bits and bobs that need doing in the space.

Take a look at the list above and get cracking at a risk assessment if you can. Or if you’re happy to review one, take a look at the ones that need reviewing.


@Josephxtian just quickly responding here to say I have a few on my list for today/tonight and will respond more fully when I can to explain which ones (just in a meeting right now)

I’ll look to review circular saw, bandsaw, table saw, and mitre saw today.

I’m also working to get the guillotine one reviewed by Jim but I also want to review it.

The welder isn’t so pressing as we don’t have any usable welders in the space right now.

After that I’ll take stock.

Are we OK to move docs between the various folders (draft/review/complete)?

The following are written and reviewed (and therefore ‘complete’), as far as I can tell:
circ saw
hand drill
mitre saw
band saw
metal lathe
milling machine

I’ve reviewed table saw, but will ask Mark to have a look as well

(15:34 edit) Also reviewed pillar drill, portable drill. I’m gonna keep a running list of stuff we need to do/buy based off these risk assessments

I’ve drafted up the Heat Press risk assessment. I don’t appear to have permissions to move items between folders, so it’s still sitting in the drafts folder for now.

I’ve got a few comments in there re: fumes, electrocution, and fire risk. I’d appreciate help & guidance from reviewers validating or adjusting those appropriately.

If the risk assessment is accepted as drafted we’ll have to take the heat press out of action pending suitable controls being put in place (ventilation, ppe).

It’s a similar story with the metal bandsaw. The risk assessment has revealed that it’s unsafe in its current state, which is a good thing, overall.

Cheers Mike and Rob. The metal mill one needs a reviewer since it only has your name against it, but i’ve moved it into the ready to be reviewed section. Moved the heatpress for you too Rob.

@bluetin thanks for offering, the link to the CNC Mill is above. I think rather than a specific electronics one we probably need one for the soldering iron (link also above) and maybe another for the heat gun.

Here’s a link to a new document for the heat gun
Heat Gun Risk Assessment.docx - Google Docs

Anything more general for electronics should probably go in the general risk assessment.
HacMan General Risk Assessment - Google Docs

Good spot. It was reviewed by Stephen and feedback provided over WhatsApp, so I’ve marked that in the doc.

I will attempt to do scroll saw and router tomorrow, and review the belt sander.

1 Like

I’ve checked the Table saw and made some minor modification but I’m happy with its current state. Not sure if its now good to be added to the completed folder, or if it needs final board approval?

I’ve also created the risk assessment for the dust extraction which is in the ready to be reviewed folder. This one was a bit weird to write as the risks are mainly passive and its a critical piece of infrastructure for controlling the risk of other machines in the workshop.

The risk of static is one I could probably do with more help/advice from others. I’ve been looking into this since starting the extraction and static is a genuine possibility and thus risk (though it has rarely been observed as a cause of fire in this capacity). The control method is to add a grounding wire to the system. Many advise wrapping the system in bare copper wire however the PVC ducting would simply act as an isolator making this ineffective. Adding screws that penetrate into the dust periodically has been suggested as a way to resolve this, however I’m not sure how effective this would be IRL. Running the wire internally is not usually advised as it would provide surfaces for dust to catch on (though I would have though this would also apply to the screw suggestion above). Its always been my intention to run the copper wire once the ductwork was finished however since it keeps changing this has yet to happen.

This video will sum-up the above quiet well and highlight why many suggests its not as big of a risk it may initially seem on paper: MYTH BUSTED? Can woodworking dust REALLY explode? (And how to ground your duct work) - YouTube

Thanks both, moved mill and table saw to completed with all comments resolved.

I’ve just completed the initial CNC Mill/Router risk assessment Document.

Reviewed jigsaw, belt sander, dust extractor.

Drafted scroll saw (someone on wood team to review)

Drafted heat gun (can someone review?)

Drafted router, hand sander

Suggest mortice machine is marked out of use until proper risk assessment can take place. It’s never been ‘properly’ set up as far as I know.