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Risk Assessment Strategy at Northumbria

The University's is to:

'As far as is reasonably practicable, manage and control hazards and risks resulting from or arising due to its activities and undertakings and the activities of others where they have an impact upon University staff, students, visitors and volunteers'.

Risk assessment is a common requirement of all health and safety legislation; rather than just reacting to incidents and making improvements after the event. The emphasis is to prevent:

  • Incidents causing injury or death
  • Near misses (because they could well cause injury if they happen again)
  • Work-related ill health
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Exacerbation of current physical and/or psychological and/or health conditions
  • Damage to equipment and the environment
  • Stress related ill health / mental health problems

The Northumbria University Risk Assessment Code of Practice complies with current Health and Safety legislation, including The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which state that risk assessments produced shall be suitable and sufficient, current and retrievable.

All faculties, services and departments are responsible for undertaking their own risk assessments; as detailed in the University's Health and Safety Policy. But it should be remembered that:

  • The law requires that only significant risks are assessed and controlled;
  • It is NOT about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace.
  • The depth of the assessment should reflect the complexity of the activity and the potential harm which could occur.
  • For some risks, other regulations require particular control measures (Chemical, radiation, pressure systems etc.)

Risk assessment is a 5 stage process, as defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE):

  • Identify the hazards
  • Who might be harmed and how
  • The control measures required
  • Record your findings
  • Review the assessment

A link to the HSE guidance is provided here: 5 Steps to Risk Assessment.

Typically, risk assessments will consider:

  • The work area, such as the department, workshop or laboratory and the hazards present there
  • The task being performed
  • The tools, equipment and materials being used to fulfil that task
  • The control measures necessary to reduce those risks to the lowest acceptable level

A full list of completed risk assessments for each Faculty, Service and Department can be found in the Risk Assessment Library

Local and Specialist Risk Assessments for Faculties of Engineering and Environment and Health and Life Sciences are also available.

Who should carry out risk assessments?

Those responsible for ensuring that risks are adequately controlled. 

In practice, the task of actually carrying out risk assessments should usually be delegated to those people who are most familiar with the activity, project or equipment being assessed, or who create the risk. These individuals, who must attend relevant training, may be line managers, academic/programme leads, technical, professional support, post graduate/researcher or individuals directly involved in the work. They all should understand the nature of the work and are best placed to ensure that on a day-to-day basis, risks are adequately controlled.

Remember that the objective is to manage and reduce risk, not to produce paper! Managers must ensure that risk assessments reflect actual working practices, and identify scope for improvement in working practices based on legislative requirements and accepted standards/good practice. 

Risk Assessments are also not as difficult or as arduous as people think. They are simply a careful examination of what in the workplace could cause harm, who it could harm, for example: staff, students, neighbours, emergency services, the environment so we can then decide if enough is being done to control the risk or if we need to do more.

Contact the Central Health and Safety Team (please email:, for more information or if you require any training in the principles of risk assessment, visit Learning and Development.

More information on completing risk assessments can be found in Risk Assessment Code of Practice and HSE Risk Assessment Information.

Risk Assessment Forms

Blank Risk Assessment Form

The risk assessment accordions listed below, also show a realistic level of detail to be included and are a starting point only.

Any assessments derived from these templates and examples must be specific to the area or task being assessed, and the risk ratings should reflect the hazards present, the complexity of the task, the potential harm from that activity and likelihood of occurrence.

University General Workplace Risk Assessments

The safety of our staff and students is the number one priority for the University. Here you will find details about several general risk assessments that provide information on risk and control measures in place to mitigate risk for several of the Universities current working arrangements that colleagues should read.

General Building and Office Risk Assessment.

General Teaching Risk Assessment.

Face to Face Teaching Risk Assessment.

Minimise the Risk to Covid-19 Exposure Risk Assessment.

Evacuation Chair and Access Equipment Trainer and User Risk Assessment.

Lone Working and Out of Hours Risk Assessment.

Safe Use of Electric Portable Heaters Risk Assessment. 

Work Related Stress Risk Assessment Template.

Working At Height Risk Assessment Template.

Vulnerable Persons Risk Assessment Template.


All contractors must always, as required by law, produce and provide risk assessments or any other safe system of works assessment and method statement for review and authorisation to the responsible person of the contractor and to hold this in their possession for the work they are planning to undertake on Northumbria University estate.

The aim is to make sure that no one is put at risk, hurt, or become ill, damages University property or negatively impacts the environments as a result of the work carried out.

It is the responsibility of the contractor to acquaint themselves of such hazards in order to complete a concise specific risk assessment and method statement. 

This must be submitted and made available to the Northumbria representative prior to any works commencing and must be reviewed and validated. 

It should 'as far as reasonably practicable', remove or reduce the risks inherent in the proposed method to their staff and all others at risk, including environmental from the proposed works.

External Contractors Risk Assessment / Method Statement Acceptance 

There may be occasions when you are required to check an external contractors Risk Assessment/Method Statement before they can carry out any works or service on Campus.

Northumbria University requires Risk Assessments & Method Statements to be specific for ALL works carried out and NOT generic. To assist our Contractors, before they arrive, issue them with a copy of this Risk Assessment & Method Statement Guide, that provides a comprehensive list of relevant points that are typically expected to be contained in the Risk Assessment & Method Statement. This will assist the satisfactory appraisal of their activity/works/task for you to authorise and sign off on the Contractor On Site (COS) Notice

"No work will be allowed to begin without an approved task/activity specific risk assessment and method statement/safe system of works and it is communicated to and understood by all those involved in the works or likely to be impacted by their works".


If you are planning an event, here is a useful health and safety checklist to ensure compliance to the Universities Events Management. To also help you put together a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, here is our example event risk assessment. 

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