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Ask the Experts: How do I compile a Risk Assessment for my holiday cottage?

Ask the experts…

Q. We’ve been told we need to carry out a Risk Assessment before we holiday let. How do we do that? 

A. The Helpful Holidays team say: 

A Risk Assessment is simply a careful written assessment of what, on your premises, could cause harm to people. You’re required to identify ‘significant hazards’ (if you consider a hazard is trivial, don’t include it) and the assessment is only required to be ‘suitable and sufficient’, not exhaustive. Its aim is to help you evaluate whether you’ve taken adequate precautions or whether you should do more to minimise the possibility of guests coming to harm. It shows you’ve taken your ‘duty of care’ seriously.

There are five basic steps: identifying hazards; deciding who may be harmed and how (carefully considering children and vulnerable people); evaluating risks and analysing whether existing precautions are adequate; recording your findings; reviewing your assessment regularly and taking action if necessary. An annual review is probably adequate when, if there are no changes, you should make a written note on the assessment to that effect and date it. If an accident occurs, the assessment will need to be reviewed.

You don’t need to over complicate the process. For most accommodation, the hazards are few and obvious and checking for them and minimising them is common sense. Once you start letting, do note and act on feedback you receive from guests.