View Current

WHS OP008 Risk Assessment Procedure

This is the current version of this document. You can provide feedback on this policy to the document author - refer to the Status and Details on the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Overview

(1) This operating Procedure specifies the requirements for conducting risk assessments through the utilisation of the WHS F020 Risk Assessment form.

(2) The objective is to ensure that where hazards exist that cannot be immediately and permanently eliminated, a robust risk assessment is conducted in order to identify, in consultation with Workers, effective controls.

Top of Page

Section 2 - Scope

(3) A risk assessment may be conducted for a wide range of activities or hazards that are likely to affect the health and safety of Workers and/or Students.

(4) Workers and Students may be invited to participate in the completion of risk assessments and have a responsibility under the WHS Act to ensure they comply with any reasonable procedure or request made by the University in the interests of work health and safety.

(5) The process of risk assessment may reveal (additional) hazards that shall be recorded in the risk assessment process.

(6) Consultation in the risk assessment process shall occur, where reasonably practicable, with regard to:

  1. Identification of hazards;
  2. Assessment of risk from the hazard;
  3. Control of the hazard according to the hierarchy of controls; and
  4. Review of the risk assessment.

(7) WHS P004 Risk Management Protocol documents the University Work Health Safety (WHS) risk management approach. This document details the specific process of conducting a risk assessment using WHS F020 Risk Assessment form.

(8) Legislation, relevant codes of practice, standards, manufacturer's instructions and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) should be consulted in the completion of risk assessment.

Top of Page

Section 3 - Procedure

Identifying the Need to Complete a Risk Assessment

(9) The requirement to complete a risk assessment occurs when:

  1. A hazard cannot immediately be eliminated by permanent controls;
  2. There is not already a risk assessment by manufacturer, Code or Standard that stipulates effective controls;
  3. Legislation stipulates it;
  4. New equipment or substances have been introduced to the work area;
  5. There is a change to existing work practices;
  6. There is a change to the location of the work environment;
  7. Responding to concerns raised by any UNE Representative regarding an identified hazard or failed control measure requiring review; and/or
  8. An incident has occurred.

Risk Assessment Teams

(10) The completion of a risk assessment shall include at least one Competent Person with operational experience, specialist skills and knowledge regarding the hazard or task, and one Competent Person who has specialist skills, knowledge and experience in the completion of risk assessment processes.

(11) Risk assessment shall be completed in consultation with at least one person whose health and safety is likely to be affected by the hazard or task. This person may be one of those listed in clause 10, above.

(12) In some cases it may be necessary to engage the input of:

  1. Subject matter experts either internal or external to the University;
  2. The University WHS team and Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs).

(13) HSRs have the right, under the WHS Act, to be included in the completion of risk assessments relevant to their work area.

(14) Contributors to the risk assessment process shall be recorded on the form.

Risk Assessment Matrix

(15) Assessment of risk is based upon a determination of the likelihood of the hazard causing harm along with a determination of the severity of the harm. Consideration should be given to the potential chain of events that could be triggered that may result in harm.

(16) The WHS F075 Risk Matrix is used to assess the likelihood, consequence, and most appropriate response to WHS risk

Hierarchy of Controls

(17) It is preferable that all hazards are eliminated. Where this is not possible the Hierarchy of Control (included in the risk matrix) is applied when managing the University's identified WHS risks. This requires adopting the highest ranked control measure that is reasonably practicable.

(18) Administrative controls and use of PPE should only be used:

  1. As a last resort;
  2. As an interim measure; or
  3. As supplementary to a higher order control.

(19) The WHS Regulation requires PPE used to be:

  1. Suitable for the nature of work and identified hazards;
  2. A suitable size and reasonably comfortable;
  3. Maintained, repaired or replaced as required; and
  4. Worn by Workers in accordance with any reasonable instruction by a UNE Representative.

Control Measures

(20) When considering the appropriate controls to mitigate risk:

  1. Check if there is legislation that has specific requirements for a control measure;
  2. Check if a Code of Practice has any guidance on controlling the hazard;
  3. Check if there is a relevant Australian Standard on the topic;
  4. Check the manufacturer's guidance and/or any industry standards;
  5. Check with other faculties and/or businesses if they have a similar hazard and how they have successfully controlled it;
  6. Consult with Workers to see if they have any solutions to the hazards they face; and/or
  7. Seek advice from People and Culture.

(21) The risk score shall assist in prioritising the implementation of risk control measures. The higher the level of risk, the more urgent the action to be taken.

(22) In some cases the legislation specifically requires a control measure so it must be implemented regardless of the cost. Similarly, if a Code of Practice or Australian Standard specifies a control measure then it must be implemented, unless you choose something of equal or better effectiveness.

(23) In all other cases the cost (in terms of time, effort, and money) of implementing a control may be taken into account when deciding whether it's reasonably practicable. However, cost alone cannot be used as a reason for doing nothing.

(24) Corrective actions shall be recorded with accountability specified and with appropriate timeframes for completion set.

Sign Off

(25) All participants included in the completion of the risk assessment shall sign off to indicate their participation and collective agreement on the outcome of the risk assessment.

(26) If a risk is identified as being ‘High’ or above, then sign off is required by the WHS Team.

(27) In the event that an international travel destination is rated as a ‘Level 3 and above’ warning from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT, the Risk Management Plan is to be approved by the WHS Team and Insurance.

Review of Risk Assessment

(28) The relevant manager shall review and sign the risk assessment and ensure control measures are reasonably practicable and implemented, specific to the work environment under their control.

Prioritising Risk Assessment Completion

(29) With consideration to the magnitude of potential risk assessments that could be completed at the University, priority of completion within each business unit shall be applied in the following order:

  1. New tasks where there are perceived high risks;
  2. Existing tasks where there are perceived high risks;
  3. New tasks where there are perceived medium risks;
  4. Existing tasks where there are perceived medium risks;
  5. New and existing tasks where there are perceived low risks and carried out by a large number of Workers/students; and
  6. New and existing tasks where there are perceived low risks.


(30) A copy of all completed WHS F020 Risk Assessment Forms shall be submitted to the WHS Team via

Authority and Compliance

(31) The Procedure Administrator, pursuant to the University's Work Health and Safety (WHS) Rule makes these Procedures.

(32) UNE Representatives and Students must observe these Procedures in relation to University matters.

(33) These Procedures operate as and from the Effective Date.

(34) Previous Procedures relating to risk assessment are replaced and have no further operation from the Effective Date of this new Procedure.

Top of Page

Section 4 - Definitions specific to this Procedure

(35) Competent Person means a person who has acquired through training, qualification or experience the knowledge and skills to carry out the task.

(36) A Worker, as defined by the WHS Act, is a person that carries out work in any capacity for a person conducting a business or undertaking, including work as:

  1. An employee;
  2. A contractor or subcontractor;
  3. An employee of a contractor or subcontractor;
  4. An employee of a labour hire company who has been assigned to work in the person's business or undertaking;
  5. An outworker;
  6. An apprentice or trainee;
  7. A student gaining work experience;
  8. A volunteer; or
  9. Person of a prescribed class.