Risk assessment and standard operating procedures

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), there is a responsibility to recognize, assess, and control hazards if there is a potential of affecting a worker. A proactive approach to ensuring a safe and healthy workplace anticipates hazards and risks and implements control measures before work starts or any significant exposure to risk occurs.

As part of the University’s Heath, Safety & Environment Management System (HSEMS), the Risk Assessment Program provides departments the guidance and knowledge required to proactively identify hazards, analyze risk, and put the appropriate controls in place to manage those hazards.

See the University's Risk Assessment Program for more information. 

Conducting risk assessments

Site risk assessments

It is the responsibility of managers and supervisors to complete risk assessments for the areas under their control before assigning work. From the following site risk assessment templates, select the most appropriate based on the task:

Departmental Hazard Register

Departmental Heads are responsible for completing and maintaining the Departmental Hazard Register. Refer to the Hazard Register Manual for support.

Department heads who have not completed their initial Hazard Register should contact safety@uwaterloo.ca.

Hazard Register tutorial videos

Writing standards operating procedures (SOPs)

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are an administrative control used to provide step by step instructions on how a trained individual would complete a hazardous task. SOPs are required when the risk level remains above a “Low” level as determined by the risk assessment or when required as outlined in a safety program (e.g., laser safety requires SOPs for all Class 3B and 4 lasers).

SOP resources:


    Additional resources and information