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Your Guide to Completing the IOSH Managing Safely Practical Risk Assessment

Read our in-depth, step-by-step guide to completing the IOSH Managing Safely practical risk assessment. Read exactly what to include in each stage of your assessment, how to calculate risk using the IOSH risk calculator, and how to complete your final assessment. 

March 2021

This blog was updated in August 2022 

IOSH Managing Safely is one of the most popular health and safety certificates in the world. It's designed to bring you up to speed on your health and safety responsibilities and help you develop the practical skills to manage risk on a day-to-day basis.

To achieve your certificate, you need to pass two assessment:

  • A knowledge-based, multiple-choice online test
  • A skills-based, practical risk assessment project

In this guide, we've provided step-by-step advice on how to successfully completed and submit your practical risk assessment project. However, the IOSH Managing Safely also includes a multiple choice exam.

What is the IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment?

The IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment project is the practical section of the IOSH Managing Safely course. It tests your ability to apply what you’ve learned in a real-life situation.

You’re required to carry out a risk assessment of a workplace of your choice. You need to identify 4 separate hazards from the categories covered in the IOSH Managing Safely syllabus: 

  • Mechanical
  • Physical
  • Chemical
  • Environmental
  • Biological
  • Organisational

For each of your identified hazards, you need to decide:

  • The likelihood of an event occurring
  • Who might be harmed
  • Control measures 
  • Actions 

You then need to record your findings in a table that’s provided to you – that’s it! We’ve broken down exactly what to include in each of these sections further below. 

When do you complete the IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment? 

You need to submit your IOSH Managing Safely project within 14 days of finishing your course.

If you’re studying in a classroom or virtual classroom, your 14 days will start from your course’s last day. If you’re studying online, your 14 days will start from when you’ve completed all of your learning materials. 

How long should it take to complete the IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment? 

Unlike written exams, practical assignments don’t have a time limit, so that you can take as long as you! We always recommend to work through your assessment in one go, then go back and re-read it a day or two later with a fresh pair of eyes and make any amendments.
So long as you focus, it shouldn’t take you more than 2 hours to assess your environment and write up your findings in the table provided.

What are the pass marks for the IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment?

You’re required to identify 4 hazards. For each hazard and the decision you make, you can gain a mark. You can also gain marks by filling in the introduction and review date of your assessment – these are easy marks to gain, so don’t forget to fill in these sections!

There are 38 marks available in total, and you need to achieve 23 (60%) to pass. 

IOSH Managing Safely Marking Criteria



Total Marks Available

Name, date of risk assessment, time, work area and work area tasks description



Hazard in work area






Who will be harmed






How will people be harmed






Existing risk control measures






Risk rating






Additional controls






New risk rating (residual)






Action/monitored by whom?






Action/monitoring by when?11114
Review date11


Getting started with your IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment

Choose a suitable workplace that has a range of hazards available. You need to identify hazards from a range of categories. If your own work doesn’t do, then get in touch with your course provider, and they’ll source you something more suitable.

Make sure you’ve marked the submission deadline in your diary. If you don’t submit your assessment on time, then you’ll fail. Please don’t leave it until the last minute! Make sure you read ALL of the guidance given to you by your course provider.

IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment stages

The risk assessment process is broken down into stages. Each stage should flow together to tell an inclusive story of your workplace, and it’s hazards, risks, and control measures. 

Make sure you fill in ALL of the boxes available on the Risk Assessment Form because they earn you marks, and let’s face it, every mark counts!

Fill in your details – (1 mark)

The first mark available is an easy one. Set the scene for your assessor by filling in the following:  

  • Name – Your Name
  • Course End Date – When you finished your course
  • Training Provider – Who delivered your training 
  • Assessors Name – Your Name
  • Date and Time – state when you undertook the assessment
  • Work area – where the task is being undertaken
  • The task being assessed – what task you are risk assessing. For example, cleaning up spilt oil, carrying boxes from a conveyor belt to a pallet, or cutting pieces of wood with a circular saw.

Clearly Identify the Hazard (1 Mark)

The first column is where you identify the hazard. A hazard is defined as “anything that has the potential to cause harm.”
Make sure that you clearly describe what the hazard is. This doesn’t mean you have to write a lot, but what you do put down should clarify the hazard. Remember, you would distribute a risk assessment to key personnel in real life, so you need to be as clear as possible.  
For example, “slip hazard” is rather vague. However, “A slip hazard due to spillages of oil/petrol” provides a bit more clarity for the marker and workers who read the risk assessment.

Who Might be Harmed? (1 Mark)

You’re likely to automatically think of the worker(s) undertaking the task and the workers within the immediate area. But remember that others might also be at risk.

Think outside the box. Do you have visitors in the work area? Cleaners? Maintenance workers? The public? If so, they should be noted down here too.

How Might People be Harmed? (1 Mark)

This includes injury and ill health. We often think of the immediate effects of hazards in terms of injuries. But it would be best if you also considered whether there are any long term ill-health effects associated with the hazard. Clearly state what any injury or ill-health effects are in this section.

Existing Risk Control Measures (1 Mark)

This part asks you to identify what measures of control you have in place for this hazard at the time of your assessment.
Don’t limit your answer to physical controls such as guards, local exhaust ventilation (LEV), signage etc. Consider administrative/soft controls such as training, supervision, job rotation, or safe work systems. (These are also important to consider when you get to the Additional Controls stage below).
Be clear with your description of the controls. Don’t just write one-word controls such as “PPE”. Clearly define what type of PPE is required. For example, nitrile gloves or safety goggles.

Current Risk Rating (1 Mark)

This is where you rate the risk of the hazard with the controls that are currently in place. You do this using the IOSH 5 x 5 Risk rating calculator. 

Risk Rating Calculator

The IOSH 5 x 5 risk rating calculator rates the likelihood and consequences on a scale of 1-5:

  • L stands for Likelihood – how likely is it that the hazard will harm someone?
  • C stands for Consequence – what are the consequences if someone is harmed? This is also often referred to as the Severity of harm.

Likelihood that hazardous event will occur

very unlikely




fairly likely




very likely


Consequence of hazardous event


Insignificant – no injury


Minor – minor injuries needing first aid 

Moderate – up to three days absence


Major – more than seven days absence

Catastrophic –  death

Once you have identified the likelihood and consequence, you multiply the two numbers to get your Risk Rating (R).
Likelihood x Consequence = Risk
For example, if you think the likelihood is ‘Likely’ (4) and the Consequence is ‘Moderate’ (3), then:

4 x 3 = 12. Your Risk Rating is 12.

Lots of learners stress over getting this number right. Don’t worry; the marker is fully aware that this type of rating system is subjective. There will always be a variety of opinions with the risk rating. Just make sure that you are realistic with your ratings, and you’ll be all right.

Additional Controls (1 Mark)

This requires you to provide additional controls that will reduce the risk. Be realistic and take into account the risk rating you just calculated.
As discussed in the section’ Existing Risk Control Measures’ above, make sure you think about various controls, not just physical ones.

Residual Risk Rating (1 Mark) 

Once you’ve decided on your new control measures, you need to carry out another risk rating using the same IOSH 5 x 5 risk rating calculator.  
Your new Residual Risk Rating should be lower than your previous one. 

Action Monitored by Whom? (1 Mark)

State who is to monitor each additional control by job role—for example, Engineering Manager.  

Action Monitored by When? (1 Mark)

There’s no plan without timelines, so allocate a time scale for each additional control. Don’t put phrases such as “On-going” or “Within a few weeks”. Use timely, measurable timeframes such as 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 2 months.
Make sure you follow the IOSH Action Level Table that provides you with guidance based on your Risk Rating:


Risk Rating



Stop – stop the activity and take immediate action.


Urgent action – take immediate action and stop the activity if necessary, maintain existing controls rigorously.


Action – improve within the specified timescale.


Monitor – look to improve at next review, or if there is a significant change.


No action – no further action but ensure controls are maintained and reviewed.

Review Date, Signature and Training Provider (1 Mark)

Another easy mark! Sign off your risk assessment by filling in the details at the bottom of the form outlined below:

  • Review date: make sure that you give a realistic review date for your assessment, for example, 12 months.
  • Sign the Assessment – if sending via computer your printed name.
  • Put your Training Provider name in the final box.

How to submit your IOSH Managing Safely risk assessment

You need to email us your finished assignment within your 14-day deadline. We’ll send your work to IOSH for marking straight away.

IOSH Managing Safely results and certificate

IOSH will typically send us the result of your practical assignment within 2-3 weeks of submission. We’ll let you know if you’ve passed or failed as soon as we hear from them.
Remember, you also need to pass the multiple-choice knowledge test to achieve your full IOSH Managing Safely Certificate.
Provided you’ve passed both assessments, we’ll send you your hard-copy IOSH Managing Safely certificate in the post within 6-8 weeks of completion. Please note that it may take a little longer to receive your results and certificate due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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