Health and Safety

General Risk Assessment

The law requires that all activities that take place in the Department must be assessed to identify any hazards that pose a safety risk. This means that everyone in the Department is responsible for assessing, or contributing to the assessment of, their work to identify any risks involved, and to develop procedures to minimise those risks. Student projects must be jointly assessed with the student’s supervisor to ensure completeness and accuracy.

The general principles of risk assessment can be summarised as follows:

Look afresh for hazards in your area of work, particularly those that could cause serious harm (e.g. anything involving electricity, chemicals, heavy lifting, heat, trip hazards such as trailing cables, protruding objects etc.)

Decide who might be harmed, remembering that cleaners, visitors and contractors may enter your area as well as the people who normally work there.

Evaluate the risks arising from any significant hazards identified; decide whether existing precautions are adequate or whether more are needed. Take into account that extra precautions may be necessary for persons with special needs. Check that any specific legal requirements are adhered to. Aim for a situation where remaining risk is low and the appropriate precautions are reasonable.

Record findings where significant hazards have been identified. Indicate what checks were made, identify who is at risk and indicate what steps have been taken to reduce or eliminate risk. Hazards already identified and addressed under other legalisation (e.g. COSHH) need not be recorded again. The originator should keep records and copy to the Departmental Safety Officer and anyone identified as at risk by the assessment.

If there is any change in the procedure, or in the materials used, or in the amounts used, a new assessment must be made before the change is implemented.