Health and safety risk management procedure


This procedure sets the minimum standard and guidance for health and safety risk management across the University.


All staff, student, contractors and visitors on University sites or undertaking University approved business.



Procedure steps and actions

1. Responsibility

Head of School/Department

  • Ensure compliance with this procedure within their area of authority.
  • Ensure consultation arrangements are followed while implementing this procedure.

Line Managers / Supervisors of staff, students, contractors and visitors

  • Ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of those who participate in the activities under their control.
  • Ensure all hazards associated with their activities are identified and adequately controlled by following this procedure

2. Procedure

Health and Safety Risk Management has four basic steps: hazard identification, risk assessment, risk control, and monitor and review. However, communication and consultation with stakeholders and Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) where available, is vital in each stage of the risk management process.

2.1. Hazard identification

A hazard is defined as ‘any situation that has the potential to cause injury or illness, harm to health and/or danger to property or the environment’.

Hazards may be commonly classified into the following 12 categories:

  • Biological - living organisms that can present a hazard
  • Chemical – the energy present in chemicals that inherently, or through reaction, has the potential to create a physical or health hazard to people, equipment, or the environment
  • Electrical – the presence and flow of an electric charge
  • Ergonomic – wherever muscles are used for doing work, including lifting, pushing, pulling, holding or restraining or where work involves repetitive use of muscles
  • Gravitational – the force caused by the attraction of all other masses to the mass of the earth
  • Mechanical – the energy of the components of a mechanical system, i.e. rotation, vibration, or motion within an otherwise stationary piece of plant or equipment
  • Motion – the change in position of objects or substances
  • Pressure – energy applied by a liquid or gas that has been compressed or is under a vacuum
  • Psychosocial – the way work is organised, or the relationships or interactions which operate within the work environment, which could create a potential for harm
  • Radiation – the energy emitted from radioactive elements or sources and naturally occurring radioactive materials
  • Sound – produced when a force causes an object or substance to vibrate and the energy is transferred through the substance in waves
  • Temperature – the measurement of differences in the thermal energy of objects or the environment, which the human body senses as either heat or cold

Hazards should be identified for all activities, and should consider:

  • the nature and type of tasks
  • work environment
  • work practices
  • materials and substances
  • plant and equipment
  • facilities, buildings, and premises
  • program planning and management.

2.2. Health and Safety Risk assessment

The associated risk for all identified hazards must be determined as per the Health and safety risk assessment instruction. The Health and Safety risk assessment process looks at three factors, respective to the hazard, and the resultant risk rating is a calculation of the product of these factors:

  • Consequence – the most probable result of interaction with the hazard
  • Exposure – the frequency of exposure to the hazard
  • Probability – the likelihood that the consequence will occur once exposed to the hazard

All Health and Safety risk assessments should be conducted in consultation with HSRs, where available, and must also be carried out:

  • before new or altered systems of work are established
  • before new plant and equipment or regulated plant is acquired
  • before new chemicals and substances are acquired
  • before buildings are acquired or leased
  • before businesses or operational entities are established or acquired
  • when work environments are altered (for example: refurbishment or new building)
  • when new information about workplace risks become available
  • when responding to concerns raised by staff, HSRs or others at the workplace
  • when required by legislation for specific hazards.

2.3. Hierarchy of controls

Once the risk rating of a particular hazard has been established, suitable control measures must be determined and implemented using the hierarchy of controls as a framework. This is further outlined in the Hierarchy of control instruction, however follows the principles that the effectiveness of the control decreases as it moves down the hierarchy from elimination to personal protective equipment:

  • Elimination (most effective control method)
  • Substitution
  • Engineering / isolation controls
  • Administrative controls
  • Personal protective equipment (least effective control method)

Controls should take into account any legislation associated with the hazard. The chosen risk control should be implemented as soon as possible with priority given to those risks with the highest risk rating.

Any task or activity that involves risks that may lead to death or serious injury must be halted immediately until suitable controls are in place to reduce the risk.

2.4. Corrective actions

Corrective actions should be established to manage the risk associated with any hazard identified through the risk management process. In line with the Corrective actions instruction, the following health and safety issues may require the identification and completion of corrective actions:

  • Hazard and incident reporting,
  • Incident investigations
  • OHS audits
  • OHS committees meetings
  • OHS management system implementation
  • Risk assessments
  • Workplace inspections

Corrective actions must be documented, and Schools/Departments should track the implementation and completion of identified corrective actions utilising the Corrective Actions Tracker.

2.5. Safe work method statement

Safe work method statement (SWMS) are tools designed to assist in reviewing proposed work tasks or activities and considering what is the safest way to complete it. It is a way of becoming aware of the hazards involved in doing the job and taking action to prevent an injury.

A SWMS must be prepared for all high risk construction work, however their application is not restricted to construction work. The SWMS instruction outlines that they should:

  • List the types of work being done
  • State the hazards and risks arising from the specific tasks/activities of that work
  • Describe how the specific risks will be controlled
  • Describe how the risk control measures will be implemented

2.6. Health and Safety Risk register

All identified risks must be recorded on the School / Department’s local area Health and Safety Risk Register. The local area’s Health and Safety Risk Register can be completed with the assistance of the Risk register instruction, which documents the health and safety risk profile of the School or Department, and includes inherent and residual health and safety risk ratings and corrective actions for each identified hazard.

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