Example Risk Assessment for an Office Environment (Issued by the Safety Office)


Date: (1)



19/09/ 2010

Assessed by: (2)



E .J Griffin

Checked / Validated* by: (3)



Location:  (4)



Kilburn offices

Assessment ref no (5)



KB  01

Review date: (6)



Task / premises: (7)


Risk assessment for the activities associated with work in an office environment



Activity (8)

Hazard (9)

Who might be harmed and how (10)

Existing measures to control risk (11)

Risk rating (12)

Result (13)


Work in an office environment









Slips, trips


Staff, Visitors,

Cleaners - could suffer injury e.g. sprains or fractures if they fall

Reasonable standards of housekeeping maintained

Trailing cables positioned neatly away from walkways

Damage to floor coverings and other repairs and maintenance reported immediately to …… for repair/replacement as necessary

Floors kept clear of items, e.g. papers, bags

Cabinet drawers and doors kept closed when not in use

Floor cleaned regularly

Adequate lighting provided





Manual Handling – carrying, lifting, pulling, pushing heavy loads e.g. furniture, PCs, stationary

Staff - could suffer from back pain if heavy/bulky objects carried incorrectly

Staff trained in correct manual handling techniques

Untrained staff to contact ….. to arrange for items to be moved

Trolley used to transport boxes of paper etc

Top shelves used for storage of light objects only






Regular computer use

Staff - may suffer from upper limb disorders (associated with repetitive actions) from regular PC use or suffer from eyestrain/headache if lighting/screen image is poor

DSE Self Assessment of computer workstation undertaken within 4 weeks of starting employment and results forwarded to …..

All problems identified in the self assessment prompt a full assessment with the findings reported to ……  who will arrange for remedial action to be taken

Staff appointed to undertake full DSE assessment as  necessary

Work scheduled so that staff have regular breaks from the computer

Training in new software use provided as necessary







e.g. PC, printer, lamp, fan, heater, kettle, photocopier, shredder, extension leads

Staff and others - could suffer electrical shock or burns if equipment is faulty

All office equipment used in accordance with the manufacturers instructions and staff trained in its use by …….

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is carried out in accordance with the University Code of Practice on the Maintenance of Electrical Equipment

Defective plugs, cables equipment etc reported to …… for repair/replacement

Sufficient power sockets provided to reduce need for extension cables

Staff discouraged from bringing in own electrical equipment as maintenance cannot be assured

Kettle/water heater positioned so water spills cannot contact  electricity supply or equipment

Liquid spills mopped up immediately






Staff and other building users - could suffer from smoke inhalation or burns if trapped in office

Staff induction includes fire evacuation procedures and means of raising the alarm

Annual fire evacuation practice carried out

Access to fire exits kept clear

Regular removal of combustible waste

Heaters located away from combustible materials  and switched off when office is left unattended





Lone working

Staff - if presence not known in the event of an emergency or if there is a threat to personal security

Telephone contact available at all times

Out of hours working arrangements in place to indicate the presence of people in the office

Staff advised to ensure unauthorised persons do not gain access when using building out of hours

Staff informed of how to contact Security





Falls from height

Staff -  retrieving items stored at height

Stepladder/kick stool available from …..

Equipment checked annually for defects and by user before each use

Staff trained in safe use of stepladder/kick stool






Staff - from pressure of work demands, lack of job control, insufficient support from colleagues, not knowing their role, poor relationships, or badly managed change

University Stress policy in place

Work plans & objectives discussed and agreed at PDR annually or more frequently if need arises

Self-referral to Occupational Health Service available






Environmental hazards


a)  thermal comfort

Staff – may feel too hot/cold or suffer other general discomfort


Building temperatures kept as reasonable as possible with supplementary heating/cooling available via Estates or School/Directorate by contacting …. … when necessary

Office is adequately ventilated





b) space


Staff and others – contact with furniture if insufficient space to move around

Space provided is sufficient to enable free movement around the office, and for carrying out tasks

Individual space requirements are re-considered when additional equipment furniture is acquired    






c) lighting

Staff and others – may suffer eyestrain if lighting is insufficient or of the wrong type

Lighting levels sufficient for the room, tasks undertaken and glare is minimised

Window blinds fitted where necessary to adjust lighting levels

Local lighting (e.g. lamps) is provided for close work where necessary

Light switches are easily accessible





Hygiene & welfare

All staff & others could experience general discomfort

Toilets supplied with hot/cold water, soap and towels, any deficiencies are reported to …...

Refreshment area available with drinking water and other facilities which is cleaned daily by ……

No smoking policy implemented





Chemical e.g. photocopier toner/ ozone production, cleaning materials


Toner changed in accordance with manufacturers instructions.

Disposable vinyl gloves worn when skin contact with toner is likely e.g. when changing cartridges

Proprietary chemicals/substances used as directed by the manufacturer

All spills are cleared up immediately and waste appropriately disposed of

Heavily used photocopiers situated in well ventilated areas.





Anything else relevant to the local situation










Action plan (14)

Ref No

Further action required

Action by whom

Action by when



 Annual Office inspection





 PAT  on  computer equipment

IT service




 PAT on electrical equipment fridges kettles heaters etc

Frank Pickard
























Notes to accompany Example Risk Assessment Form


This assessment is recommended for use by Health & Safety Services to control the risks from hazards associated with single occupancy offices.




If you wish to use this assessment the identified hazards will only be adequately controlled if measures listed under ‘Existing measures to control risk’ are available and implemented, or where existing measures are equivalent to these or better.


Action must be taken to address any deficiencies before this assessment can be regarded as suitable and sufficient for use (see 13 & 14 below).    



How to use the form for your situation


(1)          Date : Insert date that assessment form is completed. It must be valid on that day


(2)          Assessed by : Insert the name and signature of the assessor. (Name is sufficient if done electronically)  


(3)          Checked / Validated* by : delete one.


Checked by :  Insert the name and signature of someone in a position to check that the assessment has been carried out by a competent person who can identify hazards and assess risk, and that the control measures are reasonable and in place.   The checker will normally be a line manager, supervisor, principal investigator, etc.  Checking will be appropriate for most risk assessments.


Validated by : Use this for higher risk scenarios, eg where complex calculations have to be validated by another “independent” person who is competent to do so, or where the control measure is a strict permit-to-work procedure requiring thorough preparation of a workplace.  The validator should also have attended the University’s risk assessment course or equivalent, and will probably be a chartered engineer or professional with expertise in the task being considered.  Examples of where validation is required include designs for pressure vessels, load-bearing equipment, lifting equipment carrying personnel or items over populated areas, and similar situations.

(4)          Location : insert details of where the assessment is intended to cover, e.g. building, floor, room, School, Directorate etc

(5)          Assessment ref no : insert any local tracking references used


(6)          Review date : insert details of when the assessment will be reviewed as a matter of routine.  This might be in 1 year’s time, or a longer period if risks are known to be stable.  Note that any assessment must be reviewed if there are any significant changes – to the work activity, the vicinity, the people exposed to the risk, etc


(7)          Task / premises :. This is a specific risk assessment for typical activities associated with work in an office environment


(8)          Activity : The rows in this column have been merged to indicate that all the hazards relate to the day to day work of the office environment being assessed.  

(9)          Hazard : list all the hazards associated with the areas/tasks you want to use this assessment for.  Remember to look at hazards that are not immediately obvious.

Remove any from and add others to the example assessment as necessary


(10)      Persons in danger : insert everyone who might be affected by the activity.  Remember those who are not immediately involved in the work, including cleaners and maintenance contractors, Estates personnel carrying out routine maintenance and other work. Remember also that the risks for different groups will vary e.g. new and nursing mothers, disabled, young persons on work experience.

(11)      Existing measures to control the risk : The measures listed are those that are necessary to control the risks.  Some specific hazards may require detailed assessments in accordance with specific legislation (eg, manual handling, DSE work,).   Where this is the case, and a detailed assessment has already been done it is acceptable to cross reference this example risk assessment to the other documentation.  Controls might also include use of qualified and/or experienced staff who are competent to carry out certain tasks; an action plan might include training requirements for other people who will be carrying out those tasks.


(12)      Risk Rating : this is a rating of the remaining risk with the listed existing control measures in place and is given as high, medium or low, depending on how likely the activity is to cause harm and how serious that harm might be. 


          The risk is LOW - if it is most unlikely that harm would arise under the controlled conditions listed, and even if exposure occurred, the injury would be relatively slight.

          The risk is MEDIUM - if it is more likely that harm might actually occur and the outcome could be more serious (eg some time off work, or a minor physical injury).

          The risk is HIGH - if injury is likely to arise (eg there have been previous incidents, the situation looks like an accident waiting to happen) and that injury might be serious (broken bones, trip to the hospital, loss of consciousness), or even a fatality.


          Important! If this assessment is modified in any way users will need to check whether the given Risk Rating and Result are affected in any way and are still appropriate.


(13)      Result : this stage of assessment is often overlooked, but is probably the most important. Assigning a rating to a risk does not necessarily mean that the risk is adequately controlled. The options for this column are:

          T = trivial risk.  Use for very low risk activities to show that you have correctly identified a hazard, but that in the particular circumstances, the risk is insignificant.


          A = adequately controlled, no further action necessary.   If your control measures lead you to conclude that the risk is low, and that all legislative requirements have been met (and University policies complied with), then insert A in this column.


          N = not adequately controlled, actions required. Sometimes, particularly when setting up new or adapting existing arrangements, the risk assessment might identify that the risk is high or medium when it is capable of being reduced by methods that are reasonably practicable.  In these cases, the action plan must be completed. 


          U = unable to decide. Further information required.  Use this designation if the assessor is unable to complete any of the boxes, for any reason.  Often additional information can be obtained readily eg from your School Safety Advisor, equipment/ chemicals suppliers, University Safety Coordinator


          For T and A results, the assessment is complete.

          For N or U results, more work is required before the assessment can be signed off.


(14)   Action Plan. Include details of any actions necessary in order to meet the requirements of the information in Section 11 ‘Existing measures to control the risk’. Identify someone who will be responsible for ensuring the action is taken and the date by which this should be completed. Put the date when the action has been completed in the final column.