General information

Risk assessments are an important step in protecting you, your colleagues, students, and others. It's also a legal requirement.

An assessment helps you focus on the risks that really matter in your workplace or during activities. Some risks have the potential to cause real harm to people and their wellbeing, or damage to property and equipment. 

In many instances, straightforward hazards can be easily eliminated. For example, spillages should be cleaned up promptly so people do not slip, work areas should be clean and free of clutter. Pre-planning, training and careful design of activities and fieldtrips can reduce risks associated with environmental conditions, equipment, and interpersonal interactions.

For most workplaces, simple, cost-effective and practical solutions (or controls) will ensure that everyone is protected. 

It’s not always possible to eliminate all hazards, so any remaining risk needs to be minimised and controlled as far as is ‘reasonably practicable’.

The information in this protocol is intended to guide you through our step-by-step risk assessment process.

Health and safety risk management standard

The standard sets the University’s expectations for managing risk across all our campuses and activities.

View now: Health and safety risk management standard

Five steps to risk assessment

This document covers our preferred methodology for undertaking a risk assessment, and is the basis of our How to undertake a risk assessment training. Anyone undertaking a risk assessment, either individually or as part of a team, should read this this guide.

Risk assessment templates

Below are the latest preferred risk assessment templates in blank form.  A version using Microsoft Excel (with some automatic calculations for risk levels) and Microsoft Word are included depending on your preference.

There are also some partially completed examples in the library further below. Risk assessments for some specialised activities (such as field activities and events) are covered in specific topic guidance and have different forms/processes more appropriate for the activity.

The recommended risk assessment template in MS Excel format

The recommended risk assessment template in MS Word format

Blank risk assessment template in pdf format for hardcopy printing

A 2 page printable document with the 4x4 risk assessment matrix and information regarding likelihood and consequence levels

How to undertake a risk assessment

This document is the broad content of our how to undertake a risk assessment face to face training session.  It provides detailed guidance to those people, staff and students, who need to write a risk assessment for an activity, area, process or task and expands on the ‘Five Steps to Risk Assessment’ document above. 

Before using this document, you should attend the How to undertake a risk assessment workshop that is provided by the Health, Safety and Wellbeing team.  Please register for this workshop using the online Career Tools booking system. Note: Bespoke workshops can be delivered upon request.


Signing off risk assessments

Learn more about approving risk assessments. This document is for those people who have had risk assessments submitted to them for sign off i.e. ‘approval or confirmation’.  

People using this document should have attended the Signing off on risk assessments workshop that is provided by the Health, Safety and Wellbeing team.  Please register for this workshop using the online Career Tools booking system.

The following link is to a resource available to staff only.

Example risk assessments

These partially completed and unscored examples provide a starting point and guidance for people who are writing risk assessments.  

You can download them and adjust them to suit your particular circumstances. You must take your local needs and control measures into account. Once your controls are in place, you can score the risk to determine whether your activity can go ahead.

The Health, Safety and Wellbeing team are always willing to share  assessments for other users in our community. Please forward any further examples that you would like to share and we will consider hosting them.

Email us:

The following links are to resources available to staff only.

Document Control
Version: 2.1
Last Updated: Mar 2023
Next Review: Mar 2026
Approver: Associate Director, Health Safety & Wellbeing