Workers and others (members of the public, visitors and contractors for example) have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures.
The duty to carry out risk assessments is outlined in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR). The requirements are wide-ranging and overlay other health and safety legislation, including the general duties in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act.
The provisions under MHSWR relate to both safety hazards and hazards to health, with duties extending to compliance with other regulations that have more detailed requirements, such as the Manual Handling Operations Regulations and the Control of Noise at Work Regulations.
A risk assessment is about identifying appropriate measures to control the risks in your workplace.