A risk assessment should be performed before the first time that you undertake a hazardous task or procedure. It should take into consideration the site-specific details such as staff training, student behaviour (if applicable), the activity conducted and school facilities. It should be reviewed when there are any changes introduced including new people undertaking the task. Science ASSIST recommends that a risk assessment be conducted even when you have an SOP. Although there are no set times that workplaces need to keep these records, it would be good practice to attach your site-specific risk assessment to your SOP that serves as both a record of your assessment, a reminder for the next time you perform this task, as well as a guide for future risk assessments. This does not need to be a lengthy process. The aim is to ensure that suitable controls are put into place to reduce your level of risk.
Science ASSIST has a number of resources that may be helpful.
- AIS: Risk Management and risk assessment which gives a brief overview of risk management and conducting a risk assessment and is a guide to completing the Science ASSIST Risk Assessment Template.
- SOP: Diluting concentrated hydrochloric acid and its associated Example risk assessment for diluting concentrated hydrochloric acid.
Safe Work Australia has a very useful fact sheet that discusses risk management and has a section on page 4 titled ‘when to assess risks’ See http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/721/Managing-risks-to-health-fact-sheet.pdf