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Risk Assessment Strategy at Northumbria

The Northumbria University Risk Assessment Strategy 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 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):

  1. Identify the hazards.
  2. Who might be harmed and how.
  3. The control measures required.
  4. Record your findings.
  5. Review the assessment

HSE guidance

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 fulfill that task
  • The control measures necessary to reduce those risks to the lowest acceptable level

Risk Assessment Forms

Blank Risk Assessment

Example risk assessments forms can be found on the staff intranet. Any assessments derived from these 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.

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 support our Contractors, we issue the Risk Assessment & Method Statement Guide. This provides a comprehensive list of relevant points that are typically expected to be contained in the Risk Assessment & Method Statement and will assist in the appraisal of the contractor activity.

New and Expectant Mothers

Some tasks previously carried out at work may now be potentially harmful to herself or the unborn child. An assessment of all risks to the expectant or new mother has to be carried out and reviewed frequently. Please refer here for further guidance from the HSE.

Young People in the Workplace

Young people may unintentionally put themselves in harm's way; due to their lack of awareness, experience or physical limitations.

Click this guidance for more information: Young People in the Workplace

COSHH: Chemical and Hazardous Substances

You must be aware of the harmful nature of substances which you may be working with at the University. NEVER bring any substances (Paints, adhesives, chemicals etc.) onto site which have not been approved by the faculty or properly assessed. Our assessment complies with the Control of substances hazardous to health regulations (2002) as amended. 


The tools and equipment used in the University fall under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and need to be correctly risk assessed.

The PUWER regulations help ensure that any equipment being used

  • Is suitable for its intended use
  • Is safe to use (by trained persons)
  • Is adequately guarded and protected by emergency stop devices
  • Will not cause additional hazards (Noise, heat, vibration etc.).

 Our PUWER Code of Practice is available here.


If you are undertaking research activity that could pose a risk in any way or form, completing a risk assessment is required. Download a blank risk assessment template.

Students requiring assistance with completing their risk assessment should get in touch with their tutor as the first point of contact. If further assistance is needed, the Faculty Technician can provide further guidance. In the unlikely event neither can assist, the central Health & Safety team can be contacted on 0191 227 4100.

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