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					Risk Assessment Guidance
What is a risk assessment?

A risk assessment involves

1. Identifying hazards in the workplace.
   (A hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm.)

2. Identifying risks associated with the hazard.
   (A risk is the likelihood of the harm being realised.)

3. Identifying who is at risk.

4. Evaluating the effectiveness of the control measures in place.
   (Control measures are the arrangements made or precautions taken to reduce risk.)

5. Recording and reviewing the assessment as necessary.

Who should carry out a Risk Assessment?

Risk Assessments should be carried out by a person who is competent to recognise the
hazards of a particular work activity and identify suitable precautions.
Often this will be a line manager, but sometimes the person carrying out the work activity
may be more familiar with hazards and precautions, and can assist or carry out the
assessment. In any case, line managers should satisfy themselves that all risk assessments for
their areas of management control are suitable and sufficient. The Occupational Health &
Safety team will be happy to advise on issues of concern.

What do I do with a Risk Assessment?

Record it.     A suggested format is provided with these notes. Records can be on paper or
               electronic. The record should be available to anyone involved in the activity.

Make the significant findings available to any persons likely to be affected.
              This can be done verbally, in writing or electronically.
              It may be necessary to bring the assessment and any suggested action plan to
              the attention of budget holders and senior managers to ensure that adequate
              resources are provided.

Review the risk assessment regularly...
               …for example annually, and at any time when there are changes to the
               workplace, the work equipment, the work processes or the personnel involved,
               which might make the assessment invalid.

These are all LEGAL REQUIREMENTS under the Management of Health & Safety at Work
Regulations 1999.
Using the risk assessment and action plan forms

The College Risk Assessment form can be used electronically or as a paper copy – in which
case additional pages might be required. If the assessment identifies that further actions are
required in order to reduce risks, an Action Plan should be proposed by the assessor,
developed in consultation with the line manager, and approved by the Head of Team.

Please copy all Risk Assessments and approved Action Plans to the H&S Advisor, either
electronically or on paper. This will enable the College’s H&S performance to be monitored.

Activity:                     eg Big Brother event
Location:                     eg Refectory & A11
Date/duration:                of the activity – may be ongoing
Time of activity:             delete as appropriate – the aim is to prompt you to think about
                              the implications of out-of-hours or holiday-time activities
Assessed by:                  name of assessor
Date:                         of the assessment
Review by:                    depends on what actions are required – might be next
Team:                         responsible for the activity
Line Manager:                 responsible for the activity – not necessarily the assessor’s line

Summary of factors:           prompts you to think of the broader picture

People affected:              include all people who could be affected during and after the
                              activity. eg Students, teaching staff, office staff, technicians,
                              caretakers, cleaners, contractors, visitors.

Substances/materials used: eg Art materials, cleaning materials, aromatherapy oils

Equipment used:               eg Audio-visual aids, sports equipment, hairdriers, etching tanks

Additional assessments:       Pro-formas for DSE, Manual Handling, First Aid and COSHH
                              assessments are available from the H&S team or on the Intranet.
                              For advice, contact the H&S Team.

Relevant safety documents: eg College and Team H&S policies, guidelines from external
                           bodies, manufacturer’s safety sheets.

Steps in the task:        eg preparing materials & equipment for a class, delivering the
                          class, dealing with problems, materials & equipment left in-situ
                          between classes, clearing up.
Hazards and risks:        refer to the checklist overleaf and use your own experience.
Who’s at risk:            from the identified Hazard/Risk
Risk Level:               of the person at risk BEFORE precautions are applied
How are risks controlled? List precautions already in place
Are controls adequate?    Do they reduce the risk level to an acceptable level?
Actions required:         These should be expanded on in the Action Plan
Risk Assessment Checklist

Before undertaking the risk assessment, please read through the following questions, which
should help you to be systematic in your approach. This list is NOT exhaustive.

 Break the activity down into steps, and apply relevant questions to each step.
 Only record significant hazards.
 Avoid repetition: there is no need to record the same hazard for each step if it is dealt with
   in the same way.

Who’s involved? Take into consideration all people who could be in the work area during
and after the activity. Eg Students, teaching staff, office staff, technicians, caretakers,
cleaners, contractors, visitors.
Are there particular risks to young and inexperienced people, pregnant women, lone workers?

Does the work environment present particular hazards? eg poor lighting, heat/cold, slip & trip
hazards, noise, crowded, isolated.

What substances/materials are used or generated in the activity?
Do any of these substances/materials present a hazard?
Are data sheets readily available?
Is a COSHH assessment required? (Any substance which could be harmful to health,
including chemicals, dusts, biological agents)
Is personal protective equipment required? If so, detail the appropriate type, how it will be
stored, issued, inspected & used. Your Team may have its own PPE policy.
Are there implications for First Aid? Is information and equipment for appropriate First Aid
action available?
How are the substances/materials stored?
What are the procedures for dealing with leaks/spillages?

What equipment is used? Includes tools, machinery and other static or mobile equipment.
How often is equipment checked for general condition? Who is competent to do this?
How often is equipment checked for electrical safety? Who is competent to do this?
How often is equipment formally inspected? Who is competent to do this?
How often is equipment maintained? Who is competent to do this?
Is an inspection/maintenance log kept?
Who is trained to use the equipment?
What level of supervision is required?
What hazards arise from using the equipment? eg. contact, entanglement, ejected materials,
noise, vibration, heat, electrical hazards.
What hazards could arise from failure or misuse of the equipment?
Is personal protective equipment required? If so, detail the appropriate type, how it will be
stored, issued, inspected & used. Your Team may have its own PPE policy.
Does the activity involve moving, lifting or pushing loads, which are heavy or awkward, or
repeated handling of any load?
If YES, ensure a Manual Handling Assessment is completed.

Does the activity involve staff using Display Screen Equipment for continuous spells of an
hour or more every day?
If YES, ensure a DSE Assessment is completed for staff members.

Does the activity involve people working at heights?
Can this be avoided?
Who is responsible for selecting, erecting, inspecting and maintaining access equipment?
What level of training and supervision is required?
Is edge- or fall-protection required?
What safety equipment and/or protective equipment is required?

How are emergency procedures affected by the activity?
Could the activity hamper emergency evacuation?
Are First Aid arrangements adequate?
Are there special shut-down procedures?

Is there a recognised safe system of work?
How do people obtain information about it?
How is it monitored?


The risk level depends upon the severity of harm and the likelihood of that harm arising. A
simple scale, which can be used, is shown below.

High:          Possible risk of death or disabling injury
               Severe injury moderately likely
               Multiple severe injuries possible

Medium:        Severe injury possible
               Multiple minor injuries possible
               Minor injuries likely

Low:           Minor injuries possible

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