Risk Image
Risk Assessment: 

From H&S to Environment

Related online learning materials

In Environmental Practioner Programme..

What is Risk?

Environmental Risk Assessment

Hazards Risk Assessment
(for Level 3 VQ)..

Online Learning Support for Tutors

Individual e-learning (SCORM compliant)


"What issues/skills are common/different between H&S and the Environment?"

* "Aspects" is used because this is the word in ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard

We are the going to use our experience of H&S/Hazards risk assessments, to carry out an assessment of Environmental Impacts or Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA). This is how...

1. Exchange the word 'hazards' with 'impacts'


In Health & Safety we look for the 'HAZARDS'. We look at substances and other conditions that may cause harm. We look at the likelihood of how the dangerous elements may affect us - whether by contamination, inhalation or ingestion. We are looking out for the harm that may befall us. Imagine a drink in front of you. Hazards risk assessment asks what is the likelihood of harm that could be caused by ingesting, inhaling or spilling the drink.


With the environment we look the other way round. Instead of looking what is coming towartds us, we look at what is going on away from the workplace. We look at what goes in, then on and then out of work. Then we assess the possibile IMPACTS of particular activities, or aspects of, the work process. We start with the workplace, then consider the surrounding vicinity, the community, further afield, and then distant places - like the atmosphere. You now ask: "where does the tea/coffee/beer, water and china come from and where do the waste products, like cups & spoons, but also those bits going through your digestion system"

2. Examine Work functions: Look at how various functions of H&S organisation may translate to the Environment. We have a Health and Safety Drag n Drop Activity. Have a play with the various functions - all taken from vocationally related qualification (below). How do these functions correspond with those for the Environment? Try our Environmental Drag n Drop, by moving the functions around so that you can see how the various functions may relate with each other.

3 Change H&S Standards to Environment National Occupational Standards (NOSs)

There are National Occupational Standards( Developed by Sector Skills Councils), for Health and Safety. They are ENTO National Occupational Standards (pdf) You can change "health and safety" to "environment". Unit HSS 7 mentions "the environment" - this could be replaced by "sustainability". For details of how ENTO H&S NOSs translate to Environment

The advantage of doing this is that it sets us up well so we can then use all the lessons we have learnt for good H&S - eg organisation, consultation and negotiation, and apply to the environment. This is not to say that the two issues are the same.

3. NOS Unit for H&S Risk Assessment

There are National Occupational Standards (NOSs) that outline the competencies required to carry out a H&S tasks, such as Risk Assessment. They are:

Conduct a health and safety risk assessment of a workplace
Identify hazards in the workplace
Assess the workplace and recommend control measures
Review your workplace assessment of risks

4. H&S Risk Assessment Qualification at Level 3.

Qualifications are developed from NOSs (by Awarding Bodies). Level 3 is for employees with the freedom to move and who have quite well developed skills of analysis and assessment. This includes supervisors, skilled workers and union representatives. We can transfer our hazards risk assessment skills - working out the likelihood and severity of damage, and apply this to environmental impacts - whether to land, air or water.

Agric/Hortic version awarded by LANTRA (pdf) & NPTC (C&G). The level 3 certificate has two units including Unit 2: LO 2 Principles of controlling risks to health and safety (risk assessments)

Learning Outcome Tasks
Assessment Criteria
Know how to complete task specific risk assessments appropriate to agriculture/horticulture

1. Look for the Hazards.
2. Decide who might be harmed, how and how likely
3. Evaluate the risks
4. Do above for transport and two other risk situations
5 Record findings
2.1 Carry out a task specific risk assessment on workplace transport, plus 2 other task specific risk assessments from the following list:

Falls from Height, Machinery operation, Manual Handling, Work with animals, Slips, trips and falls, Substances hazardous to health, Noise, Dust, Electricity, Confined spaces, Lone working

5. H&S RA Learning Outcomes translate for the Environment

Learning Outcome Tasks
Assessment Criteria
Know how to complete environmental risk assessments of various "aspects"* of work

1 Look for the Impacts
2 Decide who and what might be harmed and how likely
3 Evaluate the risks
4. Do above for transport and two other risk situations
5 Record findings
2.1 Carry out a "aspects" risk assessment on workplace transport,
plus 2 other environmental impacts risk assessments from the following list:

Energy, Water, Waste, Pollution, Food, and Carbon Use.

6. Wider H&S & Environment Matrix of skills. H&S is influenced by legal requirements with Environment skills determined more by Environmental Management Standards. See H,S & E Matrix explaining the relationship between H&S skills and Environment skills...leading to sustainability skills