Latest update: 17/10/2022

Guidance on risk assessment at work

This guideline, published by the EU Commission in 1996, is intended to provide guidance to Member States on how employers, workers and OSH professionals can fulfil the obligations on risk assessment under Framework Directive 89/391/EEC.

Risk assessment process
Framework Directive 89/391/EEC requires employers to carry out a risk assessment to enable them to take the appropriate measures to protect workers' safety and health. The guidance document describes risk assessment as a systematic examination of all work aspects and to consider 

  • what could cause injury or harm,
  • whether the hazards could be eliminated, and if not,
  • what preventive or protective measures are, or should be, in place to control the risks.

The guidance document is subdivided into two parts. The first part describes the steps of the risk assessment process and provides practical information on what methods to use, who to involve and where information can be found. Examples based on common risks are used to explain the key elements of a risk assessment. The document emphasises that the identification of hazards and putting in place risk controls, should be based on the participation and consultation of all those who work at the workplace, which especially includes workers and their representatives. A specific section of the first part contains information on how external services can assist companies in carrying out risk assessments.
The second part of the guide presents an approach for small and medium sized enterprises where resources or expertise might be limited. 
Despite the fact that the guideline was published in 1996, its general provisions are still up-to-date and in line with current good practice.

Note: This document is not a ready-to-apply risk assessment tool as it does not take account of the implementing laws of the Member States regarding the Framework Directive. 

Publication details
Published by: European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion
Publication date: February 1996
Number of pages: 57

Available in languages









Portuguese, Portugal