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In practical terms a risk assessment is a thorough way of looking at work activities to identify those things, situations, tasks or processes that might cause harm to people.

After identifying them, assessors need to evaluate the risk and decide what measures are needed to prevent the harm occurring. 

How to risk assess?

  • Identify the hazard
  • Identify who is at risk
  • Evaluate the risk
  • Establish precaution
  • Record, monitor and review the risk assessment

COSHH ebook: Explains the fundamentals of COSHH

A podcast of the Safety Office training course Chemical Safety & COSHH is now available.

Is there a template?

Example of an assessment

Additional templates:

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)

Genetic manipulation relates to any activity involving genetically modified organisms including, but not limited to, culture, storage, transport, destruction or disposal. 

 A suitable GMO risk assessment must be submitted to NDCN Genetic Modification Safety Committee before any material can be stored on site.

 Experiments with low risk assessments (i.e. Containment Level 1) need to be approved by NDCN CGM, however experiments assessed as Containment Level 2 must obtain approval from the Health Safety Executive via the Biological Safety Officer (BSO) & University Safety Office. 

This can take up to 45 days to obtain and so early notification is important.

 All individuals working with the assessment must be informed of the required measures and they should also inform the BSO when they begin work.

Fieldwork/travel risk assessment

Staff and students often travel overseas on university business. Heads of department maintain a responsibility for the health and safety of their staff and students when they travel overseas for university business. The Overseas Travel and Fieldwork policy statements set out the arrangements for the safe management of overseas travel, including:

  • risks involved in overseas work
  • risk assessment
  • FCO Travel Advice
  • insurance
  • contingency planning
  • health matters

The University has a standard template for travel and fieldwork risk assessment. The Fieldwork/Activity section of this template can be tailored to individual departmental profiles.

Additionally, currently a Covid risk assessment supplement is required also, please liaise with facilities to obtain the most relevant template (UK or Abroad).