# Step 3 – Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions

## Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions

A risk is the chance or likelihood (high or low) that someone will be harmed by the hazard together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.

Decide how serious the hazards are and what can be done to reduce the risk of them causing harm.

## Calculating the risk – high, medium or low?

• In order to work out the risk level, you need to think about how likely the accident is to happen if preventative measures are not put in place
• Then think about how serious any injury would be

Let’s take the example of a toddler playing in a paddling pool:

What do we know about toddlers and this stage of development?

1. They can’t normally swim
2. They may still be unsteady on their feet or not yet walking
3. They do not usually have a sense of danger

Conclusion: They are at risk of slipping under the water during play and the risk of injury could be drowning.
Based on these factors the risk of harm is high

Now let’s look at the example of a toddler tripping over a toy on the floor:

1. Again the toddler may not have a sense of danger and may be unsteady on their feet
2. But while the chance of the accident may be high, the injury would not usually be life threatening

Conclusion: The risk is more likely to be medium

## Summary

• A hazard that is very likely to cause injury or harm is high risk and will need to be dealt with before one that is very unlikely to do so
• Think about the severity of the injury the hazard could cause. This could range from a small scratch to a life threatening injury
• The most severe hazards will need the most urgent attention