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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 and national / international travel.

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 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.

The University has an online module for risk assessment within the MySafety Health & Safety management system. The MySafety risk assessment templates within the system should be used for non-specialist work activities.

My Safety - Online Risk Assessment System

Training for risk assessment is included within most H&S Courses 

COVID-19 Secure Placement Risk Assessment Templates:

Specialist Risk Assessment Templates

Specialist risk assessment templates are stand-alone Word format documents.

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 associated guidance or on the relevant topic page.

If completed forms are uploaded into MySafety as a pdf for user sign off and audit trail purposes, the risk assessment must be marked as ‘confidential’ if sensitive information is included.

Certain completed risk assessments must not be uploaded into MySafety due to confidential or sensitive information. 

Further specialist topic templates can be found in the A-Z pages

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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