These pages explain where the concept of risk assessment comes from and why risk assessment is so important to everything that we do.
Risk assessment should prevent incidents, accidents and near misses occurring at the University. As a Research Supervisor, you are in a position that places responsibility to ensure that health and safety is being considered in all aspects of the work under your control.
It is recognised that a lot of the research that the University conducts actually involves very little risk; working at a computer may be the most significant hazard for some and for those that need support in this area guidance on how to work with a computer is available for staff and students. But in some cases, you may have to consider other risk factors - someone who works on their own may be at risk because the activity that they are doing could introduce harm, or because the environment where and/or time when they are working could make them more vulnerable. For this, it would be necessary for you as a Research Supervisor to question actually whether it is necessary for that person to work on their own as an initial starting point and if it is, then to analyse whether measures should be put into place to safeguard that person, then ensure that these steps are taken. Other examples include work involving contact with the public (or animals), carrying out fieldwork or visits taking place outside of the University, perhaps even overseas, work involving some use of chemicals and certain projects that stray into other research areas (crossing into the biological, chemical, medical, engineering, environmental or other area for example). Despite the latter sounding a bit extreme, it has been known for research to do this!! So, if you have a research student that wishes to stray into these areas, it doesn't mean that they cannot do this, it may just mean that additional considerations and potentially approvals need to be made beforehand. If this does ever apply, the Science and Engineering Risk Assessment webpages should help to point you in the right direction. Where necessary you can also seek the additional advice of an Advisor from the Health and Safety Department.