Risk assessments and health & safety progress

Recently I think we’ve made great progress in health and safety.

The new risk assessment format is very clear and forces teams to think about hazards, risks and controls. Having filled out a few, it’s thrown up some questions.

I know people hate meetings, but I think we should have a meeting involving at least one board member, plus members from workshop teams, plus any other interested members, to answer some outstanding questions, including:

  • What’s the review process for RAs? Does each one need filling out, reviewing by another member of a relevant team, then approving by the board?
  • RAs should be living documents and reviewed every 12 months (or regularly, at least). Do we have a plan for that?
  • If we identify new hazards or controls when filling out a RA, how can we implement these in a way that’s clear to users?

A few more general H+S questions have come up, such as:

  • Do we need to PAT test our equipment?
  • Should we have e-stops in our workshops?
  • Is it worth paying for an external consultancy to provide an independent audit of our H+S procedures?

Some conversations on the above are taking place in isolated Telegram Groups and in person. But I think this needs a consistent space-wide approach. Perhaps we have answers to the above already, in which case great!

Am going to tag people here who I have discussed this with so far and/or who have worked on RAs, just for visibility: @BunnyGirl @Marcus6275 @guywpowell @tonygoacher @Josephxtian @felix.weber @Fnhalluk @peterdroberts. Please feel free to tag anyone else who has been involved.

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Thanks for starting this Mike! I personally feel very strongly about the need for e-stops. I think any professional looking at the health and safety of the place would bring up the need for them. But I do also think regardless of requirement or no, they would be a brilliant thing to have. I have personally been involved in creating a testing procedure for some in a warehouse, but do not understand the circuitry well enough currently to implement them (the circuits require more than just buttons). I have done some research into what we would need to implement them so I can get a proper proposal/action group together, but would appreciate any expertise people have on this.

Nice thread, emergency stops would be great especially in woody. In fact the topic of emergency stop buttons came up before and a basic idea of what we need was got - a load of buttons, wire, conduit, and a suitably rated contactor in an enclosure.

I think it just needs a parts list and costing done then a nod from the board. (I’m happy to help with this btw but I’m not an electrician)

Given it’s also mains infrastructure it would essentially need one of two approved people to fit it (currently Ben or Adam) but yeah great idea and should definitely be a priority :slight_smile:

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I’ve looked at it quickly but I need to do more research to see what’s compliant. A lot of turnkey safety stuff is hugely expensive so it’s a bit of a project to know what we need vs. what a manufacturing plant needs.

In my research, I’ve often found it hard to determine exactly what we need to do vs. should do. We’re not an employer, but we do operate a premises.

This seems closest to our use case, but I think we should strive to meet HSE standards in everything we do


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Hiya, Frank was the one who originally developed the new RA format for the space, but i believe he is now busy buying a house. The following is all just my opinion on the points you’ve raised.

The review process for RAs doesn’t currently exist, but I would propose the following:

  1. RA is written.

  2. Competent person reviews and adds to RA.

  3. Board approve RA and add it to the Google drive and physical risk assessment folder in the space.

  4. Tool is available for use following implementation of points from RA.

My aim is to have a physical folder of risk assessments in the space available for any member to have a look at.

Agreed they should be living documents. I’d like to see risk assessments shown at the end of inductions. This could be while members are signing the forms. This gives them a chance to suggest updates but also be aware of any risks and controls in place that weree missed in the induction. This doesn’t need to be more complex than opening the plastic wallet of risk assessments and showing them the relevant one.

In addition to this, whenever a new trainer is trained on a machine I think they should do a proper recorded review of the risk assessments. If they don’t feel capable of doing this, then I’d argue they are competant enough to be a trainer either.

For other items that don’t have trainers, this responsibility could be split between the board and subgroups. Our space doesn’t change as quickly as a commercial space might, so I’d think reviewing no more than every 3 years would be appropriate. The most dangerous tools will all have inductions anyway so will be checked more frequently as above.

We have to be very careful not to make all our processes so unweildy that no one every volunteers to help at the space ever again, while also weighing up what we need to do to keep the membership safe.

The intention of the risk assessments was to make text bold for any controls that require user action e.g. PPE, warning bystanders etc.

This hasn’t been well communicated nor implemented and I apologise. I was rushing to get as many risk assessments done to a basic level as possible, then was going to revisit them once we had the basics covered.

As I understand, though PAT testing all equipment would be ideal, it’s not a legal requirement as we don’t have employees. Given the attitude to spending money previously, I haven’t been pushing for this as it can add up in cost quickly and we’re in the process of upgrading tools at the moment anyway.

For similar reasons I don’t think we should hire a H&S consultant. At a guess I’d imagine it might cost £65-100 per hour and most of the things they would flag we already know about but don’t have the volunteer hours to action on top of everything else currently.

I think estops would be a good idea. Perhaps 2 in woody and 1 in metal plus a few on the machines most likely to pull the user into them if snagged as a starting point. I’d preference installing this small number to start and test them out before rolling it out to more tools. I think a discrete task like this could be completed much quicker than a more general aim like ‘estops on every machine’. The need for them will be dictated by risk assessments anyway.

As the link mike has shared from HSE states we should try our best with what we have. We should try to make the space as safe as we can within our very tight financial and physical resources, and without taking on an enormous admin burden.

Already typed this once already then my phone deleted it all so sorry if it doesn’t flow as well the second time I typed it.

Happy to attend a meeting. I can’t do Tuesdays.


All excellent points, Joe, cheers.

I don’t think we need a meeting, probably. As long as we continue completing the RAs. Would it help if I added a spreadsheet in the folder outlining what RA’s exist, who reviewed them, when, etc.?

If they’re in the google folder, google will keep track of who has opened it, what changes they’ve made and when, if that is a simplistic solution? There’s also the ‘last updated by/date’ on at the bottom of each risk assessment.

The record sheet is a good idea, but I always wonder if it’s better to have an out of date record sheet or no record sheet at all.

You’re right, actually. The audit logging in G Drive is probably better than anything we could come up with. I was really looking for a comprehensive list of equipment by workshop, but our Tools page on the members’ system does that.