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To gain your IOSH Managing Safely certificate, you must pass the examination and successfully complete a risk assessment project.

You are expected to carry out a risk assessment in your own workplace. If you are not in work, or you cannot carry out the assessment in your own workplace, you may carry it out in another workplace.

The project should take no more than two hours to complete. This includes gathering the information and completing the form.

All projects are marked by independent examiners.

The pass mark is 23 out of 38.

Some general ‘rules’

It is important that you follow the guidance contained in this document.

The examiner will not be familiar with your workplace, so you must make things very clear for them. Keep things simple, but precise. For example: “The flammable gas cylinders stored adjacent to the warehouse.”

The examiner can only mark what they see, so make sure that your answers would make sense to a third party. If is worth asking a work colleague to review your risk assessment prior to submission. If they can spot flaws in it, it’s likely that the examiner will also spot those flaws.

Your answers must be typed into the risk assessment form provided by IOSH.

The IOSH risk assessment form is a PDF document. To type and save text in the PDF document, you must be using the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Instructions for downloading the latest version are at Appendix B.

You can only type a certain number of words into each box in the IOSH template, so you need to be precise and concise (not a bad skill).

Completing the risk assessment form

(For a worked example – see Appendix A)

Name of assessor – put your name.

Date – put the date of the assessment.

Time – put the time of the assessment.

Work area – briefly describe the work area in terms of function, size, number of floors, number of people. For example: Ground floor warehouse, 900 square metres with up to 50 people.

Task being assessed – Be specific, e.g. Use of forklift truck to move goods from loading bay to racking.

You need to select FOUR hazards that are not being adequately controlled.

It is important that what you put in the left-hand column is a hazard (i.e. something with the potential to cause harm). If it is not a hazard, you will not score any marks for that entire row. In other words, you will lose 9 marks.

You should choose significant hazards, not trivia.

Common hazards include:

  • Working at height (e.g. working at height on a ladder 3 metres high)
  • Manual handling (e.g. manual handling of boxes weighing 10kg)
  • Slip hazards (be specific, e.g. the wet floor in reception)
  • Trip hazards (be specific, e.g. trailing cables)
  • Moving vehicles (e.g. forklift truck in warehouse)

What is the hazard?

Outline the hazard in full. For example:

  • “Wet floor at the entrance to the building which is a slip hazard.”
  • “Trailing cables between wall sockets and workstations which are a trip hazard.”
  • Never write “slip and trips” – this is too vague.
  • Don’t just write “Manual handling”. Describe the hazard, for example: “Carrying heavy boxes of paper from reception to the photocopier.”
  • Don’t just write “Electricity”. Describe the hazard, for example: “Overloaded electrical sockets underneath workstations”.
  • Don’t just write “Circular saw”. Describe the hazard, for example: “The sharp blade on the circular saw.”

Who might be harmed?

List the full range of people that might be harmed. Wherever possible, quantify this list. For example:

  • 50 employees
  • Up to 30 visitors each day
  • 4 cleaners
  • Maintenance team (2 people)

Don’t reel off the same list of people for each hazard. It may be that visitors will be exposed to some hazards (e.g. wet floor), but not to others (e.g. overloaded sockets).

How might people be harmed?

Be precise and state exactly what harm the hazard could cause. For example, the overloaded socket could catch fire and burn someone resulting in burns, scarring, smoke inhalation and possibly death. Alternatively, the overloaded socket could give someone an electric shock leading to a heart attack, unconsciousness and possibly death.

Existing risk control measures

Don’t write ‘None’. There will almost certainly be existing control measures.

In the case of a wet floor, the existing control measure might be signage.

Think about ‘soft’ controls such as training, supervision, safe systems of work, inspections and maintenance.

Tip – don’t put too many controls. You want to have something to put in the additional controls column.

Risk rating

Use the IOSH (5 x 5) risk rating calculator.

Enter a likelihood rating from 1- 5 (L) and a consequence rating from 1-5 (C).

Multiply these together to obtain a risk rating out of 25 (R).

Although the likelihood and consequence ratings are subjective, they must be realistic. The examiner will expect you to be within +/- 1 of their judgement.

For the consequence rating, you should judge the foreseeable harm. If you are dealing with hazards such as electricity or working at height, then a rating of 5 (death) is justified.

Additional controls

What controls could you put in place to reduce the risk?

For a wet floor (currently controlled only by signage), we could introduce anti-slip matting and mopping up of any residual moisture.

As well as ‘hard’ controls such as barriers and machine guards, think about ‘soft’, management controls such as training, supervision, safe systems of work, inspections and health surveillance.

Be as specific as possible. Don’t just write “Training”. Write: “Training for all new starters”. Don’t just write “PPE”: Write: “High visibility jackets for all car park attendants”.

New risk rating (residual)

Use the IOSH (5 x 5) risk rating calculator.

Enter a likelihood rating from 1- 5 (L) and a consequence rating from 1-5 (C).

Multiply these together to obtain a residual risk rating out of 25 (R).

Make sure that your residual risk rating is lower than your original risk rating.

Be careful with your likelihood and consequence ratings. It is normally the likelihood rating that will decrease, rather than the consequence rating. For example, if you use a scaffold tower rather than a ladder, you may reduce the likelihood of a fall but, if you do fall, the consequence may still be death.

It is possible for the consequence rating to decrease. For example, if you were to substitute solvent-based paint for water-based paint, which is less harmful.

Think carefully before you change the consequence rating. In most cases, the additional control measures will reduce the likelihood. The consequence (if harm does occur) will be the same.

Action / monitored by whom?

Assign a date to each additional control. For example:

  • Provision of panic alarms – By 8 July (one week)
  • Training course for lone workers – By 30 September (three months)
  • You must commit to a date. Don’t just write: “Within a week” or “On-going”.

Take note of the IOSH action level table. For example, if something has a residual risk rating of 15-16, they will expect “Urgent action – stopping the activity if necessary or maintaining existing controls rigorously.”

Bottom of the form

Put a sensible review date, which might be 6 or 12 months from the date of the assessment.

Sign the assessment. Typing your name is acceptable.

Put the training provider name: British Safety Council.

Submitting your project

The project must be submitted to the British Safety Council within 14 days of the end of the course.

E-mail your project to [email protected]

Certificates will be despatched to successful students within 12 weeks. Candidates that are not successful will be informed by e-mail within this timeframe.

Students that are unsuccessful will be given an opportunity to request feedback on their submission. This feedback is provided free of charge. However, you must pay for any subsequent re-submission.

Should you have any difficulty in submitting your project, please contact the British Safety Council Operations Team on +44 (0)20 8741 1231.

How your project is marked

Top of the form (date, time, work area, task being assessed) 1 mark
Hazard 1 9 marks (1 for each column)
Hazard 2 9 marks (1 for each column)
Hazard 3 9 marks (1 for each column)
Hazard 4 9 marks (1 for each column)
Bottom of form (review date, signature) 1 mark

Note: If your hazard is unclear, or is not a hazard, you risk losing all 9 marks for that row.