A guide on HR risk assessment for employees 2023
What is an HR Risk Assessment
An HR risk assessment or employee risk assessment focuses on analysing risks posed by employees to the organisation. It includes managing the risks involved with employee behaviour and following Australian employment law around hiring and dismissing employees, workplace behaviour, and working conditions.
Australia has a complex employment law system, and understanding your obligations and your employees’ rights can be time-consuming and confusing. The role of HR professionals is to understand the key pieces of legislation, regulation, and practices and how this applies to an organisation.
Running and growing your business is challenging enough without the added pressure of trying to make sense of the different laws and industrial awards that apply to you and your employees.
That’s why it’s vital to manage risks around employee behaviour and workplace safety to reduce any impact it might have on your business, reputation, and longevity as an organisation. Some violations can also be very costly. The Fair Work Ombudsman takes a serious approach to enforcing workplace laws and ensuring rights and obligations are met.
The goal of the HR risk assessment is to help you identify if your business’ HR practices and procedures comply with recommended best practices. On top of that, the aim is to put a plan in place in case risks are identified so that you can prevent them promptly and/or lessen their impact.
How do you conduct a risk assessment for your employees?
Performing an effective risk assessment to keep your employees safe is something that should be handled by a competent person or team with appropriate experience and knowledge. Supervisors and employees familiar with the business operations should also be available to help assist the person assessing.
All workplaces are legally required to perform risk management. Firstly, assess the working conditions of employees. This involves the following steps:
- Identify any hazards in the workplace – this includes plant, equipment, chemicals, air quality, even appropriate ergonomic desks, and chairs.
- Assess the risks – determine the likelihood of injury or illness that hazard can cause to an employee, and how severe the injury or illness would be.
- Control the risk – determine what needs to be done to remove or control the hazard. Where possible, always try to remove the hazard from the workplace. This may involve putting in an entirely different process, isolating the hazard, or providing safety equipment for employee protection. It’s important to have systems in place, so all employees at all levels know their roles and procedures they must follow.
You will also need to assess the procedures and policies you have in place to meet your legal obligations. The steps for conducting this assessment include:
- Conducting an audit of your policies and procedures to identify any industrial instruments that cover your employees and any awards and standards.
- Leave entitlements
- Pay, conditions, and remuneration
- Recruitment and job descriptions
- Any reward and recognition programs
- Performance management
- Training and development
- Equal employment opportunity
- Discrimination and employee rights
- Bullying and harassment
- Work Health and Safety (WHS) and Workers’ Compensation
- Employee separation and offboarding
In addition to the above policies and procedures, also do an audit of:
- All time and record-keeping such as employee details, employment status (i.e. casual, part-time, full-time, etc). As well as hours worked, rate of pay, superannuation, leave accrued, and other tax-related information
- Any cybersecurity policies you have in place and training programs for employees
- Any HR strategies such as any planning and review processes in place
- Any employee engagement strategies in place such as processes for employee communications and team building activities
At Happy HR, we specialise in performing employee risk assessments and managing the whole process all in one place. Book a demo with us and find out how we can help you.
What is the purpose of a Risk Analysis?
A good risk analysis should identify and meet work health and safety laws, as well as put a plan in place to remove them or lessen their impact. A workplace with a good risk management plan not only helps you but your employees. It also contributes to a safe and productive workplace:
- It helps you comply with employment laws
- It can help prevent or reduce the severity of workplace injuries and lessen or remove the risk of fines
- Promote and improve employee health and wellbeing
- Increase employee productivity and reduce absenteeism
- Promote your business as a great place to work and attract top talent
The cliché often repeated in business, “the people are your greatest asset” is true. Without its people, a business will not succeed. What’s more, without a proper risk management plan in place, a business runs the risk of violating regulations and will be slapped with penalties and hefty fines.
Our premium support services ensure you have a good risk management system in place to protect your greatest asset. It also contribute to the long-term success of your business.
Do employees need to do working from home risk assessments?
As an employer, you have a duty under model WHS laws to ensure the health and safety of your workers, even when they are working from home. But managing risks in the home would look different from managing risks in the workplace.
- You must provide guidance about what makes a safe work environment
- Allow your employee to borrow necessary work equipment to help them get their work done safely
- Perform a mental health risk assessment
- Provide access to mental health and wellbeing support services
- Provide guidance on how existing workplace policies will work in the home environment (e.g. attendance and timesheets)
It is your responsibility to minimise or remove risks to the health and safety of your workers, as much as reasonably possible. Performing a risk assessment with your employee will help you identify steps to take to keep them safe.
Is it a legal requirement to do risk assessments?
Regardless of your organisation’s size, you are legally required to perform a risk assessment. It is an ongoing process and one that constantly needs to be monitored and revised.
What’s more, legal and regulatory requirements are complex and constantly changing, sometimes overnight. If you don’t have the right HR resources, what wasn’t a risk in the past may well be a risk now, exposing you to fines and lawsuits.
Keeping up with the law is a full-time job and conducting a risk analysis is not easy. Understanding risk and its management take special skill, and not all businesses can handle this. Budget pressures, lack of accountability, and lack of clarity on how to conduct an audit can make it hard to successfully complete a risk assessment.