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Managing Health and Safety Risk

To be effective in management of any risk, it is necessary to identify hazards, assess the possible risks and apply the most appropriate controls. This is effectively achieved by a systematic review of an activity or a space.

The information below will guide you through the reasoning and the processes to help you effectively manage the health and safety risks in your area of activity. 

Online Training

For detailed information on Health and Safety Risk Assessments, please complete the ELMO training module, click here.

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Hazard Assessment

Hazard assessments form the basis of controlling hazards.  They should be seen as an important tool in ensuring that your activities don’t present risks and that the controls implemented are appropriate.

Hazard assessment is something that we do every day so don’t be scared of it. For example:  When pouring water into a bath, we check the water temperature by sampling with our hand. This is the tool to control the hazard of scalding because the water is too hot. In the same way, we use hazard assessments for activities such as lifting a box. By following the activity in steps, and identifying the potential hazards in a logical way, we can perform the task safely.

Hazard assessment at the University is a systematic process whereby supervisors, managers and staff members identify, assess and control hazards that may affect staff, students or visitors.

Once a hazard is identified an action plan is prepared and hazards are then controlled by being eliminated or minimized. Staff consultation is an essential part of the process.

Hazard assessment can be a pro-active way of preventing an accident or incident occurring and can be useful in preventing an incident/accident reoccurring.

Identifying Hazards

Is the process of investigating any activity, situation, product, service or thing that could affect the health, safety and welfare of persons at the place of work. For 'what is a hazard?' click here.

Assessing the Risk

How likely is the hazard to affect the health, safety and wellbeing of persons and what degree of harm could occur?  When there is more than one hazard we need to prioritise the risks so that we can act on the highest  risk first.

An Assessment Matrix template has been provided for your use, please click here for a copy.


Documenting the process allows us to systematically address the hazards present in our workplace.

Once the process is documented, action plans can be formulated and responsibilities allocated for controls implemented to eliminate or reduce the risk of those hazards.


Intrinsic hazards that may arise because of the nature of the University's operations and activities, products or services, plant and machinery, and the work environment itself may require specific action plans based on the "hierarchy of controls".

Controls should take account of non-compliance of workgroup members,ask:  "What would happen if a person took a short-cut to bypass the controls?"

Ongoing Monitoring

Ongoing monitoring is one way to ensure that the implemented controls are working effectively and that new hazards have not been introduced into the workplace.

Research and Teaching Activities

All research applications and undergraduate practical teaching activities must include the results of a hazard assessment carried out prior to commencing research or teaching activities. Where this identifies a risk, the documentation should be forwarded to the head of school or their delegate for assessment. In situations where there is a high risk, these must be forwarded to H&S for review. Some activities require a safety clearance from the H&S team prior to the activity commencing. In order to provide safety clearance, the activity risk and controls are reviewed by a technical specialist on the area of activity. This is managed by the H&S Team.

The University has a number of technical committees that provide support and assessments in their field of expertise.

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