Information on assessing Health and Safety risks

Robert Gordon University has a duty to make suitable and sufficient assessments of the risks to which employees may be exposed whilst at work. The University's duty extends to assessing the risks to persons not in its employment but affected by its undertakings, for example, students or visitors. In order to support these requirements, procedures and templates have been provided to aid the development of risk assessments.

Contact details for OHES Staff are available on the Health and Safety Homepage, should additional support be required.

Please note that the fire safety of buildings is assessed by the Fire Safety Adviser using the PAS79 template. Process fire risks such as a Chemistry Experiment or Engineering Project will require an additional specific risk assessment by the School using a Hazardous / Dangerous Substances Assessment template.

Risk Assessment Policy & Procedure

It is the Policy of Robert Gordon University to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that no employee, student, visitor, contractor or other person is exposed to an unacceptably high level of risk from any of the property, equipment or activities undertaken, for which the University has a legal responsibility for mitigation. Any risks which cannot be mitigated to a tolerable level must be presented to the Staff Governance Committee for review.

In view of this commitment, The Robert Gordon University will:

  • Provide an environment where risk is mitigated to an acceptable level for all employees, students, visitors, contractors or others.
  • Ensure compliance with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and all other relevant legislation and guidance.
  • Undertake suitable and sufficient assessments of all workplace risks, through the application of a suitable risk assessment system
  • Record the significant findings of these assessments
  • Provide information on the outcomes of assessments to those involved in the process being assessed
  • Provide suitable information and training to enable suitable risk assessments to be developed and implemented.
  • Regularly review the risk assessment system, to ensure it is suitable and sufficient


  • Head of School or Support Department

The Head of School or Support Department will ensure, personally or through delegation to a competent person, that suitable and sufficient assessments of risks arising from their activities, processes or other, are performed and the significant findings recorded. The Head of School or Department will also ensure, through appointed competent persons, that the relevant information contained in these assessments is disseminated to the appropriate persons, and that the mitigation/control measures are adequately implemented.

  •  Employees, students, visitors, contractors and others

It is the responsibility of employees, students, visitors, contractors and others to participate as requested in the risk assessment process. In addition any recommended control measures must be implemented.

  • The Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Department

The Robert Gordon University Occupational Health and Environmental Safety department will ensure that an adequate risk assessment system is in place. This will contain the risk assessment policy, procedure, example form, advice and training for key people within Schools and Departments on the RGU system. In addition the Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Department will source and help to arrange additional risk assessment training where it is required.  

Arrangements for implementation

Assessments will be recorded on The Robert Gordon University Risk Assessment Template or a pre-agreed variation of this form, and in accordance with The Robert Gordon University risk assessment procedure.

The exceptions to this would be where a specialised risk assessment is required, for example using lasers or radiation, COSHH, fire, DSE (workstation). This list is not exhaustive. The School or Department may amend the form to suit a specific technical risk, providing the format is agreed and recorded by the Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Department.

Records will be held by the School or Department, in the area to which they apply, and will be accessible for employees or students for information purposes, and for auditing purposes.

Risk Assessment Procedure (PDF 200KB)

Risk Assessment Template (DOC 81KB)

Inspection and Action Plan Proformas

Procurement and Use of Work Equipment Procedure

The Procurement and Use of Work Equipment Procedure is used to ensure work equipment is compliant with relevant standards and safe for use.

The Machinery Assessment Checklist section of the procedure should be completed upon procurement of each unique item of machinery and routinely reviewed throughout the operational life of the equipment.

Contact Occupational Health and Environmental Safety for assistance if required.

Procurement and Use of Work Equipment Procedure (DOC 76KB)

Hazardous / Dangerous Substances Assessment Procedure

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) and Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) Assessment guidance and templates

Templates and guidance to be used as part of the COSHH Assessment process:

COSHH Assessment Guidance (PDF 238KB)

COSHH Assessment Template (DOC 237KB)

COSHH Assessment Bio-Hazard Template (DOC 232KB)

Templates and guidance to be used as part of the DSEAR Assessment process:

DSEAR Assessment Guidance (PDF 110KB)

DSEAR Assessment Template (DOC 120KB)

Guidance on the storage of hazardous and dangerous substances:

Safe Storage of Hazardous and Dangerous Substances in Stockrooms, Workshops and Laboratories (PDF 2MB)

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessment Procedure

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessment Template

The template DSE Assessment form can be found below. For detailed guidance on the application and method of DSE Assessment, please access the Health and Safety Display Screen Equipment Page

On completion of the DSE Assessment Form, either save it in Word format or print a copy and send to your H&S Co-ordinator, highlighting any adverse findings.

Your H&S Co-ordinator will either resolve the situation or will contact the H&S Department for further advice.

Display Screen Equipment Assessment Form (DOC 160KB)

Expectant and Nursing Mothers Procedure

Expectant and Nursing Mothers Risk Assessment

Staff and students expecting or nursing children are advised to engage in the risk assessment process as early as possible, to enable potential risks and controls measures to be evaluated.

The Human Resources Department leads the risk assessment process for employed expectant / nursing mothers. Please refer to the university Family Friendly Policies/Procedures for further information.

Tutors lead the process for student expectant / nursing mothers, supported by the local Health and Safety Co-ordinator as necessary.

The risk assessment template below should be completed and recorded. Advice and support can be sought from the OHES Department in respect of any special risks.


HSE Guidance on managing risks at work to Expectant and Nursing Mothers 

Expectant and Nursing Mothers Risk Assessment Template (DOC 153KB)

Manual Handling Procedure

Manual Handling Risk Assessment

Manual Handling operations which involve a risk of injury should be avoided so far as is reasonably practicable.

Where Manual Handling operations involving a risk of injury cannot be avoided, a risk assessment should be completed using the Manual Handling Risk Assessment Template.

Manual Handling Risk Assessment Template (DOC 230KB)

HSE Guidance on Manual Handling

or contact the OHES Department for advice.

Event Safety Procedure

Event Safety Risk Assessment

Many Schools and Departments organise events which either are not part of their routine activities or which invite members of the public into University buildings.

Due to the atypical nature of these activities, there is an increased risk of hazards being realised due to, for example, increased people in areas, members of public unfamiliar with hazards or building layout, unusual equipment being installed, etc.

Good planning and management are fundamental to the success of any organised event. In order to ensure that events are conducted safely, an event safety plan should be drawn up which will ensure that the health, safety and welfare of all those attending an event is managed.

During the preparation stages of planning an event, it will be necessary to undertake an event risk assessment, which will ensure that there are adequate health and safety measures in place. It is likely, that these risk and associated controls are actively considered during the planning stage, but it is important that these are documented.

It may also be necessary to consider whether the University Insurance is adequate for the event. It may be necessary to discuss this with the Finance Department.

In the unlikely event that a major incident occurs, quick and prompt actions by responsible persons is likely to severely limit any deterioration in the situation. A major incident could include a serious personal injury, a large number of casualties, fire, collapse of a structure, etc. The development of an emergency plan outlining the actions required when things go wrong should be considered. This plan will outline the roles and responsibilities of specific people in the event of a major incident and the actions that are required by certain people e.g. assisting in building evacuation, assistance of evacuees to assembly points, liaison with the emergency services, etc. It will be important that the emergency plan highlights individuals with key decision making powers.

In addition to the development of an event safety plan and assigning roles and responsibilities for safety to staff involved in the event, it may be necessary that safety information is relayed to visitors. This is most easily done by the provision of signs or the provision of “helpers” who are easily identified.

The documents below outline the information that would be required for an Event Safety Plan.

Event Safety Plan Guidance (DOC 30KB)

Event Safety Plan Template (DOC 83KB)

Student Placement and Work Experience Pupils

Student Placement Risk Management

The Student Placement Risk Management Policy, Procedure and Guidance can be found via theHealth and Safety Student Placement Page. Guidance is also provided on accepting Work Experience pupils at the University.

Student Placement Questionnaire (DOC 80KB)

Lone Working and Out of Hours Access

Please see the Lone Working and Out of Hours Access Health and Safety Page to view the Policy, Procedure and Flowcharts and to download the associated forms.

Aggressive and Challenging Behaviour

Guidance for avoiding and dealing with conflict

Guidance on Challenging and Aggressive Behaviour (PDF 163KB)

If you have been a victim of crime and need someone to talk to you can make an appointment with the Counselling and Wellbeing Service.   

Telephone: (01224) 262120, email or visit their website at the link below.

Counselling and Wellbeing Centre

RGU offers access to an independent Employee Support Helpline to assist with a wide range of issues.

Employee Support Helpline

Suspicious Packages

Advice to Managers and Staff on Possible Chemical/ Biological Agents Received by Post

In the current climate of tension, both at home and overseas, we have decided to issue specific guidance to managers and staff regarding potential postal incidents. We do not wish to unnecessarily alarm staff. So far in the UK all incidents involving such agents have been found to be false alarms and hoaxes.

However, it is important that any decisions to open any suspect mail are made on the basis of access to good information.

There are three underlying principles:

Firstly, the safety and well being of staff is the paramount concern.

Secondly, staff should be well informed but not unduly alarmed.

Thirdly, if there is any suspect item it should be isolated in an appropriate way until it can be safely examined.

This is consistent with equivalent guidance already issued to staff who might be involved in overseas travel.

Although terrorist or criminal incidents of this nature are extremely rare, there may still be concern that there has been exposure to risk. In order to reassure its employees, the University will make available occupational health screening for its employees where there has been any form of suspect exposure to chemical or biological agents.