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Health and Safety Services

General Risk Assessment Form

The purpose of a risk assessment is to identify possible causes of harm, the likelihood of that harm actually occurring given the safeguards already in place and any further safeguarding measures needed to reduce that likelihood still further  - before an accident occurs.

A hazard is anything with the potential to cause harm e.g. a knife in catering. The potential severity of harm from our knife could be a minor cut needing a plaster if peeling potatoes with a small knife or a serious cut or worse if chopping with a large knife. The likelihood that an event of  a particular severity will actually occur takes into account the control measures already in place e.g. use of a potato peeler instead, use of a chain-mail glove when chopping, proper training, etc.  The level of risk is the product of the likelihood and the potential severity.  A high level of risk is one where an event is very likely to occur and may cause death or serious injury/illness. A low level of risk is one where an event is unlikely or would result in a trivial or minor injury/illness with little or no time off work. A medium level of risk is in between these two e.g. an event that is reasonably likely and could result in several days off work.   By carrying out a risk assessment, you can direct attention and resources where they are most needed to prevent injuries or ill-health.

1. Full description of work to be undertaken, frequency and duration
2. Identified hazards involved in the work and the possible injury types and severity of harm that could result.

3. All possible staff groups & individuals likely to be affected by the work i.e. don't forget the cleaners.

4. What is your assessment of the level of risk - the chance of an injury of that severity from that hazard?  Calculate low/med/high from the method described below.  Take account of  the existing safety controls e.g. engineering controls, information, training, protective equipment, monitoring, etc.  List those here.

5. Are any additional controls necessary to reduce the risk level further?  e.g. more information, instruction, training, engineering controls, protective equipment or clothing, monitoring, etc.  If so list them here.

6.  Level of residual risk after existing and any new controls are  in place.  Calculate low/med/high from the method described below
7. State here the monitoring procedure to ensure safe implementation of the activity.
8. Signed and dated
9. Review date


                          X (B)  LIKELIHOOD OF HARMFUL EVENT OCCURRING
1 = Minor harm (< 3 days off work)
2 = Moderate  harm (> 3 days off work)
3 = Serious harm (death or major injury)

(B) LIKELIHOOD OF HARMFUL EVENT (taking control measures into consideration)
1 = An event that could result in harm of that severity is unlikely to occur
2 = An event that could result in harm of that severity is has a reasonable chance of occurring
3 = An event that could result in harm of that severity is likely to occur

6/9 = High Risk - Take immediate action to reduce risk by elimination or more controls
4   = Medium Risk - Take action within a few days to reduce risk level by elimination or more controls
2/3  = Low risk  - Accept unless (B) i.e. LIKELIHOOD is marked 2/3.  If so, take action within a few days to reduce
          risk level by elimination or more controls.
1 = Very Low Risk - Accept risk or take action to eliminate risk when resources allow
A Frequency of Exposure  (FE) can also be introduced to further differentiate risk levels (FE x A x B)
1 = Task carried out only infrequently (several months between tasks)
2 = Task carried our weekly - monthly
3 = Task carried out daily daily or even more often

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Health & Safety Services, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX. Tel: 020 7631 6218, email: