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Risk assessments

**Please note that this section refers to 'normal' practice, which has been partially suspended. Please refer to Covid-19 for current guidance and risk assessment templates.**

What is a risk assessment?

A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, while carrying out your role or studies, could cause harm to people including yourself, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions, or should do more to prevent harm. 

It is the responsibility of the Academic Supervisor / Principle Investigator / Line Manager to ensure that the appropriate risk assessments have been completed. The Academic Supervisor / Principle Investigator / Line Manager must authorise the final version before use.

Risk assessment templates

This page contains a series of risk assessment templates for use as a starting point for your own assessments. They must be modified to your work, please see Guidance on Using Generic Risk Assessments.

Staff and student travel

Staff and PGR students can use SALC online pre-travel risk assessment declaration form that covers low-moderate risk business travel and fieldwork in the UK , and overseas business travel to low-moderate risk countries. This form is suitable for most conferences and academic business travel where hazards are minimal such as low-risk day field trips, conferences, research, undertaking surveys, interviews and focus groups or archival work in offices and public places in the UK and low risk/moderate risk rated countries. The steps involved are:

  1. Staff/students consult the University's Travel risk assessment flowchart to ensure their plans are covered by the generic risk assessments.
  2. Staff/students must confirm their travel plans with their line manager/supervisor.
  3. Staff/students complete a pre-travel risk assessment declaration confirming their travel fits the University’s generic risk assessments. The form will request details on the destination city/country, travel arrangements, duration of the trip, accommodation and emergency contact details.
  4. The online form gets automatically sent to the staff member, staff member’s line manager, and
  5. The School compliance team monitors the forms to ensure they are for national travel and low risk/moderate risk countries only and intended activities are low risk and flags any of concern to line managers/supervisors.
  6. After the pre-travel risk assessment declaration is submitted, staff/students can proceed with travel plans and booking travel via Key Travel. Staff/students can show a copy of their “pre-travel risk assessment declaration” to travel administrators as proof.

Help and advice is always available from your school safety advisors. Please also see useful guidance below:

Training available

TLCO300 Principles of Risk Assessment - This course is aimed at individuals who carry out risk assessments. The course covers methods for identifying hazards, assessing risks and implementing controls.


It is compulsory to complete a risk assessment and obtain a pre-travel approval if you are planning to travel away from the University - whether it is on University business such as a conference or meeting, or for fieldwork.

The School has 3 types of risk assessments:

  1. Generic risk assessments - covers most low/moderate-risk activity (see above)
  2. Adapted risk assessment (see above)
  3. Specific risk assessment - for high risk activities and/or travel (see above)

The University has put in place a number of control measures and tools to assist in managing the safety of staff and students when travelling. Please see the University travel page that contains a summary of the requirements around pre-travel risk assessments, both in the UK and overseas. (also accessible via the travel luggage icon on the Staffnet home page).

  • Insurance – SALC staff and students are encouraged to register on the AIG site or download the AIG travel assistance app to their mobile phones prior to travel.
  • Key Travel – This is the University’s appointed partner for the booking of travel.  All travel must be booked via Key Travel. 

Which risk assessment is appropriate? 

Generic risk assessment – for low/moderate-risk activity and travel

If your activity is of low to moderate risk and falls within the School generic risk assessments then all you need to do is complete the online SALC Low Risk Pre-travel Declaration Form before you travel. The form will request details on the country you are travelling to, travel arrangements, duration of the trip, line manager approval and emergency contact details. The form will be reviewed by a School Safety Advisor and additional information may be requested.

Adapted risk assessment 

An adapted risk assessment is required where a number of the circumstances fall outside the scope of the generic risk assessment.  You and your Academic Supervisor / Principle Investigator / Line Manager should work together to identify the additional risks involved with your trip before it takes place. The extra detail can be added to the relevant generic risk assessment template. Once complete you must submit your completed risk assessment to

Specific risk assessment – high-risk activity and/or travel

A specific risk assessment must be carried out when: 

  • The country that you are travelling to is on the list of destinations, which is either of high threat or has additional control requirements
  • The area that you are going to has been given specific advice against travel by the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO). For countries where the FCO has advised against all travel then the Risk Assessment must be approved by the Head of School and in some cases the Dean of the Faculty. Please note that a decision should normally be made by the Head of School or the Dean within 10 working days but this can be longer depending on the circumstances.
  • The country is of moderate threat, but you have never travelled to the country before
  • The activity that you plan to undertake is deemed to be of high risk due to; unfamiliar/new activity; requiring access to resource(s) to mitigate significant risks should they arise; significant potential risks

For trips to high-risk countries, a further approval will be required at the point of booking your travel through Key Travel. Key Travel will ask the traveller and the person making the booking if a 'pre-travel authorisation' has been obtained for the trip. If an approved risk assessment is in place, then the pre-travel authorisation will be granted. The travel booking can then be approved by the budget holder. The booking will not be approved unless a risk assessment has been completed and validated.

Fieldwork Debrief Form

The fieldwork debrief form is for all staff and students to complete upon the conclusion of their fieldwork/research project. In cases of staff-managed group fieldwork (i.e. archaeological digs), the staff member responsible is to complete the form on the group's behalf.