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Risk assessment and management

Proactively, effectively and continually managing health, safety and business risk is the foundation to successful project planning and outcomes. Taking a proactive approach assists in identifying potential problems before they occur, allows for controls to be planned for and put in place to mitigate adverse impacts, therefore ensuring project objectives are achieved. Before conducting research, researchers must identify and manage the hazards and risks associated with their work. ECU’s integrated risk management framework provides a consistent approach to identifying and managing risk to enhance the University’s ability to prevent harm to personnel, effectively manage opportunities and adverse effects that may be involved in the process of its work. The risk assessment and management process may be invoked at any time across the life of the project.

In particular, promotion of a risk management approach to managing workplace risk is recognised as an objective of Occupational Safety and Health legislation. The legislative framework embraces the principles of risk management and requires the employer to:

  1. identify each hazard to which a person at the workplace is likely to be exposed;
  2. assess the risk of injury or harm to a person resulting from each hazard; and
  3. consider the means by which the risk may be reduced.

ECU’s integrated risk management framework involves the following steps:

  1. Establish context (both internal and external), acceptability criteria and type of risk analysis required (i.e. scope of contract/work, objectives, boundaries, methodology, responsibilities, stakeholders and risk acceptance threshold).
  2. Risk analysis: Risk identification (develop a comprehensive list of all types of hazards – Health and Safety (including high risk materials such as **radiation, biological and hazardous substances), Financial and Legal, Business Interruption and Quality of Service, Reputation and Image, Environmental and Project. (Consider the situations, hazard types and impacts). Risk assessment (using the University’s risk matrix).
  3. Record the risk assessment using the HDR Risk Assessment template (located under Downloads).
  4. Risk management - select, implement and monitor the effectiveness of specific risk controls and action plans for further mitigation of risks to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) or an acceptable level: Risk reporting and communication. Risk update and re-evaluation - review progress and developments, check actions effectiveness, identify new risks.

*Risk analysis steps

  1. Download the HDR Risk Assessment Tool and enable macros;
  2. Complete the Project Risk Checklist to determine the overall risk profile of your project;
  3. Complete the Controls Self-Assessment to confirm that you have followed the processes and implemented the actions that are necessary to manage the risks of your project;
  4. Complete the Activity Risk Register, to identify health and safety hazards and other types of risks and controls to effectively manage them to a level that is as low as reasonably practicable or to an acceptable level.
  5. Implement all controls and
  6. Review your risk assessment if your research project changes and update it if necessary.

# Note: For levels of moderate to high/extreme risk, a full Risk Management Plan will need to be developed. Please see the Risk Management Plan template under 'Downloads.'

Risk assessment documents and supporting information

Further information about ECU's integrated risk management framework and use risk tools and templates can be found under Downloads or See Also on this page.

Additional support

* Further information about ECU’s integrated risk management framework and use risk tools and templates can be found here:

Risk Management information, tools and templates

HDR Risk Assessment form - Excel File, 118.9 KB

**Further information and support on how ECU manages Radiation, Biosafety and Hazardous Substances can be found here:

Radiation Biosafety and Hazardous Substances information, tools and templates

Additional support

For further advice you should contact your school research support staff.

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