Risk assessment in the workplace

All companies with employees must prepare a written risk assessment. The employer is responsible for carrying this out and involving the employees in the process.

A risk assessment is a tool for dealing with the working environment; it helps a company to examine all the health and safety issues that might arise.

How does a risk assessment benefit the company?

Risk assessments improve health and safety in a company and can have the following benefits:

  • Reduces the costs of accidents and occupational disease
  • Reduces sick leave
  • Reduces attrition among employees
  • Greater job satisfaction, motivation and productivity.

What are the requirements for a risk assessment?

The process should reveal any health and safety problems so that they can be resolved. The company must always fulfil the following requirements for a risk assessment:

  • The risk assessment must be made in writing, but the form of this is optional: It can be done digitally, for example.
  • The risk assessment must be available for management, employees and the Danish Working Environment Authority – Arbejdstilsynet – to read.

The risk assessment process consists of five elements that the company must perform:

  1. survey the company's working environment to reveal any health and safety issues.
  2. describe any health and safety issues and evaluate how to resolve them.
  3. assess if there are working environment circumstances that contribute to increased sick leave.
  4. draft a plan of action that describes, among other things, when, how and by whom any problems will be resolved.
  5. describe how the company will follow up on the plan of action, including who is responsible for carrying out the plan in practice.

Arbejdstilsynet does not have to approve company risk assessments but will check whether the risk assessment has been implemented as required by law.

The company’s Health and Safety Organisation must be involved in the entire risk assessment process. If a company has 9 or fewer employees it is not required to have a Health and Safety Organisation but an employee representative must be involved in the process. The company chooses the methods and tools it will use to perform the risk assessment.

Read more in our section about the Health and Safety Organisation

Risk assessment tools

The Danish Working Environment Authority – Arbejdstilsynet – has prepared checklists that you can use during a risk assessment. The checklists are especially suitable for companies with fewer than 10 employees. They contain a series of questions on working environment conditions that are typical for the branch.