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Understand the importance of risk assessment in relation to the prevention and control of infections

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

Risk is the likelihood of there being negative consequences (such as death, injury, loss etc.) to a particular action or inaction.

Potential risks of infection within the workplace can include:

Risk assessments are used to identify the risks of a certain activity and find ways to reduce the risk or eliminate it entirely. They are important because they protect people from harm and loss. They also provide a written record that risks have been properly considered and safeguards have been put in place to protect people from harm. This can protect employees and employers from potential future litigation. Risk assessments can also be used as part of a person-centred approach and can help balance risks with an individual’s right to make choices.

The risk assessment process is:

  1. Identify potential hazards by observation and speaking to people that have direct contact with the potential hazard
  2. Evaluate the risks by thinking about who may be harmed and how
  3. Take precautions to eliminate or reduce the risk as much as practically possible
  4. Record your findings (usually on a risk assessment form)
  5. Review the risk regularly to account for any changes or anything that is ineffective or could be improved