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A Guide to the IOSH Managing Safely Risk Assessment

Written by SM Safety Training & Consultancy 28 June 2023

Carrying out a risk assessment as part of your IOSH Managing Safely course can be daunting, as many who take the course will not have conducted them previously. That’s why we’ve put together a guide on how to carry out your risk assessment successfully, helping you to pass your IOSH Managing Safely course with flying colours.

This is a guide to the IOSH Managing Safely Risk Assessment


What is a IOSH Managing Safely Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment is a practical exercise where hazards are identified within the workplace. Hazards are any item which has the potential to cause harm, and therefore the potential to put people at risk. The effectiveness of any existing safety measures reducing the risk are then evaluated, with new measures suggested. The individual carrying out the risk assessment is referred to as the assessor. For the purposes of the IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment, you will take up the role of the assessor when conducting a risk assessment.

Why do we carry out Risk Assessments?

As stated by the HSE, risk assessments are “not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace.” Their goal is to improve and monitor the safety measures taken against hazards present in the workplace, in turn eliminating them, or reducing the risk they pose where this is not possible. However, risk assessments are also compulsory by law, and are a step employers must take to keep their employees safe. If an organisation has 5 or more employees, it must also record the risk assessments in writing. However, it is also beneficial for smaller organisations to record their risk assessments, as doing so evidences that an organisation is committed to keeping its employees safe. Additionally, it provides employees with a point of reference if they want to refresh themselves on safety practices, in turn helping your employees maintain high safety standards.

When should you conduct a Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment should be conducted in your workplace regularly as a part of annual maintenance and inspections. However, they should also be conducted if your premises changes, you acquire new equipment or there is a near miss incident where someone could have been harmed. Regularly performing and reviewing your risk assessments for these reasons is one of the most effective ways to maintain high health and safety standards across your organisation.

How is the IOSH Managing Safely Risk Assessment marked?

The pass mark for the IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment is 23/38, meaning you need just over 50% to pass the assessment. One mark is awarded for filling in your name, the task being assessed and the date, a second for filling in the review date and signature at the bottom of the form. The remaining 36 marks are awarded for filling in the rest of the form, with 4 marks provided for successfully filling in each section.

Risk Assessment Section Marks Available

Personal and Assessment details?


What is the hazard?


Who might be harmed?


Existing Control measures


Risk Rating


Additional Controls


New Risk Rating


Action/monitored by whom?


Action/monitored by when


Closing Details


Where should you carry out your IOSH Managing Safely Risk Assessment?

When deciding where to carry out your risk assessment, it’s important to keep in mind the IOSH Managing Safely Syllabus. It requires you to identify 4 hazards in your risk assessment that fit into any of the following categories:

  • Mechanical

  • Physical

  • Chemical

  • Environmental

  • Biological

  • Organisational

Provided you can identify 4 hazards from the above categories, you can complete your risk assessment in a workplace of your choice.

How long do you have to complete your IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment?

There is no time limit on the IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment, however we recommend spending at least an hour on completing the risk assessment. Keep in mind you should proofread and check your work after completing it, ensuring you are happy with the quality of the risk assessment. When studying through any of our other learning options such as face to face or VIA Teams, you'll complete the risk assessment during the standard 3 day course duration.

Planning your IOSH Managing Safely Risk Assessment

Once you’ve decided on the workplace where you’ll carry out the risk assessment, it’s important to understand the risk assessment form you need to fill in. As shown below, there are several sections you’ll need to cover for each of the four risks.


To pass the assessment you must fill in all sections of the risk assessment form, detailing the 4 hazards. Fill in the form with clear language so that your examiner can easily understand your reasoning and suggestions- the easier you make this for them, the easier they will find it to award you marks.

IOSH Managing Safely Risk Assessment Stages

We’ll now break down each section of the risk assessment form with clear guidance on how to fill in each one, so you have a thorough understanding of how to tackle your risk assessment.

Personal details and assessment information:

As mentioned earlier, the first mark is awarded for filling in the personal details at the top of the risk assessment form. This includes the name of the assessor. As mentioned earlier, this refers to the individual carrying out the risk assessment, not the IOSH Managing Safely examiner. You therefore need to put your name, as you are the one carrying out the risk assessment. This section also includes the date and time, as well as the ‘Work Area’. For this you need to describe the sort of work environment you are conducting the risk assessment in, such as an office, warehouse, or workshop; you don’t need to give specific details about the organisation which operates in the workplace. Finally, there’s the ‘Task being assessed’ section, this refers to the hypothetical task a worker would be carrying out and could be something as simple as cleaning the office or installing a smoke detector. You’ll need to decide on this task before beginning the risk assessment, as by going through the actions involved in the task you can identify the risks that would be involved in completing it.


We’ll now move from left to right across the form, covering each section so that you gain an understanding of how each part leads into the next.

What is the hazard?

The first section asks you to identify the hazard you will be assessing the risk of. When filling in this section, bear in mind that a hazard may not be what directly causes harm, instead being what leads to harm being caused. For example, electricity is what causes harm through an electric shock, whereas the hazard would be a damaged plug or cable, as this leads to an electric shock occurring. A hazard is also not an event, such as tripping, slipping, or falling. In these situations, the hazards would be what causes the event, being the loose cable and spilled liquid respectively.

Who might be harmed?

After identifying the potential hazard, decide which people in a business could be at risk of harm from the hazard. This will likely include employees, though may also include contractors, visitors, the public, or other groups present in your workplace. Make sure to include all those who could be at risk of harm from the hazard.

How might people be harmed?

For this section you will need to list what injuries the identified risk could cause. You don’t need to go into explicit detail, though you will need to be thorough in covering all the possible injuries. Here are a few examples:

  • Electric shocks can cause electric burns and interfere with the natural rhythm of the heart.

  • Falls can cause bruising, concussion, and broken bones.

  • Metal blades on equipment can cause cuts and lead to amputation.

Existing risk control measures:

Here you must detail what measures are already in place to prevent the risk causing harm. This can include safety equipment such as goggles and headwear, as well as training, regular inspections, and supervision.

Risk Rating:

When filling in this section you will need to refer to the 5x5 risk matrix, which can be seen below.


As shown on the matrix, each risk is given a rating of 1 to 5 for likelihood, being the chance it could cause injury, and consequence, being the severity of the possible injury. These ratings translate to the following levels of likelihood and consequence: Likelihood:

1. Almost impossible (yearly+) 2. Unlikely (yearly) 3. Possible (monthly) 4. Likely (weekly) 5. Almost certain (Daily)


1. Insignificant (no injury) 2. Minor (minor injuries need first aid only) 3. Significant (1-6 days absence) 4. Major (more than 7 days of absence) 5. Catastrophic

Multiplying the values for both consequence and risk together provides the risk rating. As shown on the matrix, this rating requires a specific response based on the level of the risk:

  • 1-2: No action needed, though ensure all measures are maintained and reviewed.

  • 3-6: Monitor, looking to improve current measures by the time of the next review or if there is a significant change in the situation.

  • 8-12: Action, taken within a specific timescale.

  • 15-16: Urgent, take immediate action and stop activity if necessary. Maintain existing measures rigorously to ensure no further increase in risk.

  • 20-25: Stop, end activity, and take immediate action.

These ratings will, to a degree, be subjective, so think realistically when deciding on them. They also serve a key secondary purpose, as they allow employers to identify which hazards pose the largest risks. The employer can then aim to reduce these larger risks first, prioritising those which place employees at greater risk in the workplace.

Additional Controls:

In this section you must explain what new measures you will implement to reduce the risk of the identified hazard. When doing so, you use the hierarchy of control, which outlines the different methods you can take to reduce the risk a hazard poses:


  • Eliminate: This is the most effective way to reduce risk, as removing the hazard eliminates any risk it could pose.

  • Reduce Hazard: Reducing the occurrence and therefore likelihood of the hazard causing harm reduces the risk it poses.

  • Prevent Contact: By removing the possibility of the hazard coming in to contact with people, you reduce the risk the hazard poses.

  • Safe System of Work (SSOW): Writing guidance or a clear procedure for a task provides employees with clear instruction on how to reduce the risk a hazard poses to them.

  • PPE: Providing employees with Personal Protective Equipment, such as gloves or safety goggles, can also reduce risk.

Choosing one or more of these methods and applying them to the identified hazard is the most effective way to acquire marks in the additional controls section of the assessment. The easiest way to reduce risk is reducing the likelihood someone could interact with the hazard in a way which could cause harm. This may seem quite vague, but that’s only because there are many methods through which to accomplish this. A few are:

  • Providing effective training

  • Supervision

  • Guards such as screens or safety locks

  • Regular maintenance and inspection

You can also reduce the severity of the consequence the hazard poses, though this is often more difficult than reducing the likelihood. A few methods through which you could reduce the level of consequence are:

  • Reduce the voltage used for equipment to reduce the severity of electric shocks.

  • Reduce the strength of chemicals utilised in the workplace, reducing the harm of any spills or skin contact.

  • Replace chemicals with less potent alternatives.

In many cases hazards will demand multiple additional controls, so using several of these methods is common. Doing so can significantly decrease risk, and it is therefore advised where possible.

It is important to note that for the IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment you must not eliminate the hazards identified. Although you would do this normally, doing so as part of the assessment would mean the risk cannot be reassessed, making the new risk rating impossible to complete.

New Risk Rating:

With the additional controls considered you can now calculate a second risk rating. This rating should be lower than your first rating and will demonstrate how effective you expect the additional controls to be.

Action/monitored by whom?

Enter here who will oversee the implementation of the new measures, such as warehouse manager or site supervisor. Use the individual’s job title, not their name.

Action/monitored by when?

In this section you need to enter a date by which the new measures will be implemented, and therefore a date by which the risk will be reduced. A future date is required, so do not state “now” or “immediately”, as measures take time to implement. New PPE, for example, would need to be ordered and delivered prior to use, and SSOW would need to be written and reviewed. You do not need to be precise when selecting a date, just a reasonable estimate that you can justify.

Closing Details:

The final section of the form has a ‘review date’ section. A review date is a set date when the hazards identified in the risk assessment will be reviewed, at which point you can evaluate the additional measures put in place and how effective they have been. Then all you need to do is provide your signature and the name of your training provider. If you’re studying with us, put ‘SM Safety Training’.

IOSH Managing Safely Risk Assessment Example:

Below is an example of an IOSH Managing Safely Risk Assessment form, with the details and the first row complete. You can use this to gauge the level of detail needed when completing the risk assessment for your course.


Submission, Results and Certification: After completing your risk assessment, you’ll need to submit it to the examiner within the 14-day period provided. The form can be handwritten or typed and will then be reviewed by the examiner.

Provided you have passed both the risk assessment and the written portion of the exam, you will be issued an IOSH Managing Safely Certificate. These are sent by post and usually arrive within 2 to 3 weeks of completing the course.

Over to you:

You should now have all the information you need to succeed when completing the IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment, however if you have any questions, you can contact our team. Alternatively, if you or your employees want to study the IOSH Managing Safely course, you can book here.

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Dec 19, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thrilled to have earned my OSHA Certificate! 🏆 It's not just a credential; it's a commitment to safety excellence. Ready to apply this knowledge in the workplace.

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<a href="">OSHA 30-Hour Course</a>.Grateful for the valuable insights gained. Ready for success!.


Jun 28, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Brilliant post thank you 😀

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