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Health and Safety Directorate

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is an essential step in protecting our employees, students, visitors and the University, as well as complying with the law. The core principles of the Policy Statement advocated by Queen Mary are provision and maintenance of a safe working and study environment that, as far as is reasonably practicable, is free from risks to health.

Managing the risks to health and safety through the process of risk assessment and applying the necessary risk controls ensures effective health and safety in the workplace. In many instances, straightforward measures can readily control risks.  

As well as the health and safety risks associated with research laboratories, teaching activities and office environments at Queen Mary, we also have to assess the risks associated with such activities in catering, residential accommodation, building and grounds maintenance work, external contractors, machinery workshops, sports activities, national / international travel and fieldwork.

The University’s activities are diverse and include managing effectively the risks from hazards such as asbestos present in older buildings, potential for legionella bacteria in water systems, chemicals handled in research, teaching, Estates and other activities, ionising and non-ionising radiation sources, high powered lasers, asphyxiant and compressed gases, biological agents and genetically modified organisms.

Risk Assessment Policy

Who should assess the risks to health and safety?

Each School/ Institute / PS Directorate is responsible for assessing and managing the risks to their students, staff and visitors.

Heads of Schools/ Institutes / PS Directorates are responsible for ensuring that risks are adequately controlled. This includes ensuring that suitable and sufficient assessments of the work activities within their areas are undertaken, and that these are reviewed regularly. Queen Mary policy requires risk assessments to be reviewed annually in most cases and upon changes to the work, legislation or after an incident.

In practice, the task of actually carrying out risk assessments is usually delegated to those staff who are most familiar with the activity, project or equipment being assessed, or who create the risk. These individuals may be local managers, academic supervisors or individuals directly involved in the work but they must be competent to carry out the assessment. They should understand the nature of the work and must ensure that on a day-to-day basis risks are adequately controlled.

Risk assessment system

The University has a centrally provided online module for health & safety risk assessments within the 'MySafety' Health & Safety management system.

MySafety - Online Risk Assessment System

Training on risk assessment principles and practice is included within most H&S Courses (taught and online) provided by the Health & Safety Directorate. Course and access details are at: Taught courses are bookable via: CPD Training Platform.

All Queen Mary health & safety risk assessments (excluding those with confidential or sensitive personal information and those with national security information) should be entered or uploaded into MySafety, and user 'read receipts' recorded within the risk assessment record. 

Specialist Risk Assessment Templates

Specialist health & safety risk assessment templates are provided as stand-alone Word format documents.

Specialist templates can be found in the applicable topic A-Z page - see: A-Z Topic Pages.

Always ensure internal Queen Mary and external / regulatory approval processes are completed for a specialist risk assessment before work commences. The requirements are detailed within the form, in guidance provided at: MySafety - Online Health and Safety Management System, or on the relevant topic page.

Fully completed specialist stand-alone forms should be converted to a pdf by the assessor and uploaded into MySafety with a specific Safety number for each one, the risk assessment must be marked as 'confidential' if sensitive information is included.

For Advice and Assistance at QMUL, contact the H&S Manager / Advisor for your Faculty / PS or the subject lead at

All H&S staff can be contacted via the help desk at

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