General

Risk assessments are used across every industry in the UK to varying degrees and they are fundamental in preventing accidents and ill-health.

Risk assessment is the combination of three things:

  • What might go wrong
  • How likely it is that things might go wrong
  • What might happen if something goes wrong

A risk assessment identifies all the risks involved in a project or activity and how they can be controlled. The goal is not to eliminate all risk but to reduce the risk to a reasonable level so no one is likely to be injured or made ill, no laws will be broken and equipment is unlikely to be damaged. 

The law requires you to carry out a Risk Assessment for your work if the risk is greater than ‘trivial’. Examples of this are:

  • work that uses electricity (other than a standard plug fitting)
  • working with children
  • working at height
  • working in a secluded area, and so on.

Usually the University will have risk assessed the activity that you are carrying out, but if you are planning something yourself such as a photo shoot, or making work for an exhibition, you will need to write your own risk assessment. If you are in doubt, check with your tutor or technician! The college insurance will only be valid if there is a risk assessment.

It’s very important to write the risk assessment at the start of your project, otherwise you risk work being removed or projects cancelled. Think about what you want to achieve and how you’re planning to do it. Risk assessments aren’t difficult but they usually take a bit of time and thought. You will need to write the risk assessment yourself, but staff can assist. You should start by talking to your tutor and the technicians. Maybe someone else has done something similar to you and you could talk to them.  

During the risk assessment process you might find yourself having to make new arrangements, buy equipment, look up University policies, go on training, and research best practice in order to complete your assessment. 

Risk assessments should always be documented, up to date, relevant and implemented. They must be completed by a competent person and supervised/signed off by someone who is competent to do so, this will usually be your Course Leader. 

Most activities / risks can be assessed via the University's General Risk Assessment form but there are a few instances when you will need to complete a specific risk assessment form as detailed in the other sections.

Click on the links below for the general risk assessment resources:

It’s unusual for a project to be turned down at UAL because of health and safety but if it does happen it’s almost always because risk assessment was left to the last minute and there wasn’t enough time. It’s worth considering risk as early as possible when planning your project because the measures required to control risk may alter how you achieve the finished work. 

For further advice and information talk to your Tutor, Technician and Health and Safety Advisor and get access to our risk assessment e-learning course.