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Risk Assessment

Rhodes University has adopted a model and strategy whereby the senior management is individually, collectively and ultimately responsible for identifying risks and being accountable for managing the risks within their operational areas .

The employer also has a duty to inform the employee of any risks associated with the work they are required to do.

A risk assessment (see Types of Risk Assessments) does not have to be a complicated procedure - in its simplest form, it involves the following steps:

  1. Identify the hazards (see Sources of Hazards)

  2. Identify who might be harmed and how

  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on control measures

  4. Record the chosen control measures and implement the plan 

  5. Review the assessment and update where required

Conducting a risk assessment is part of any organisation's risk management process, which may take the form of a simple baseline risk assessment, issue-based risk assessment, or continuous risk assessments - for example, quarterly health and safety inspections. 

Read the guidelines:

A full risk assessment process may be considered in terms of five areas:


  • Identify the hazards in the work area
  • Identify the risks associated with each hazard


  • Decide who might be harmed and how - consider each risk in terms of who could be exposed to it, the consequences, and the probability/likelihood of it happening
  • Rank the risks - from highest concern to lowest concern


  • List possible solutions for each risk 
  • Decide on the best solution or combination of solutions for each risk - a common risk management approach is to consider the options of terminate, treat, transfer or tolerate
  • Record the solution and implementation plan  
  • Implement 


  • Decide on the best finance solution - as far as is reasonably practicable - for the risk control process
  • Implement


  • Evaluate the success of actions taken to control the risks
  • Review the assessment and update where necessary

More info:

Duty to inform

Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993), section 13. Duty to inform: 

Without derogating from any specific duty imposed on an employer by this Act, every employer shall -

a)as far as is reasonably practicable, cause every employee to be made conversant with the hazards to his health and safety attached to any work which he has to perform, any article or substance which he has to produce, process, use, handle, store or transport and any plant or machinery which he is required or permitted to use, as well as with the precautionary measures which should be taken and observed with respect to those hazards;

b)inform the health & safety representatives concerned beforehand of inspections, investigations or formal inquiries of which he has been notified by an inspector, and of any application for exemption made by him in terms of section 40; and

c)inform a health and safety representative as soon as reasonably practicable of the occurrence of an incident in the workplace or section of the workplace for which such representative has been designated.

Return to Rhodes University's Safety front page. Questions/Suggestions? Contact safety(at)ru.ac.za

Last Modified: Thu, 01 Jun 2017 11:39:53 SAST