RiskAssess - Risk Assessments for High Schools and Primary Schools

News

5 February 2018 - Easier Student RiskAssess and RiskAssess logins

To log in to Student RiskAssess (specially customised for student use) and RiskAssess for staff at the same time, you used to need a private browsing tab for one of them, or two browsers. Now, you can log in to both at the same time in two tabs in the same browser. In the prep room, this is especially useful, as you may wish to see the schedule for student-created experiments at the same time as the schedule for those submitted by staff.

22 November 2017 – Page breaks in risk assessments & abbreviated procedure in scheduling

In response to user feedback, we have improved:

17 November 2017 – Scheduling: Download for Excel (CSV) Improvements

Previously, when you clicked the 'Download for Excel (CSV)' button on the scheduling screen, you would only download the current page of data (up to 100 experiments). Now, when you click this button, you will get all the data in one download (up to thousands of experiments). Note that there is a limit of 18 months on the time period.

1 November 2017 - Release 5 now complete, including "Safety in Schools" eBook!

Release 5 of RiskAssess, Student RiskAssess and Primary RiskAssess is now available! It includes the following upgrades since Release 4:

We have just released Dr Phillip Crisp's renowned "Safety in Schools" book today, completing the Release. The eBook covers many of the major safety issues in schools and is the main learning text for safety courses. To access, click the link at the top right of the news box on your home page.

As with previous updates, these upgrades have been automatically included in your current subscription. However, the price will increase when you next renew your subscription. Please note there has been no price increase for two years, even though we have added a complete GHS labelling system and lots of new features (see news items). If you have received a renewal notice before 1 November 2017, it will be at the old price ($200+GST), and needs to be paid by the end of the year (otherwise, the new price applies). All invoices from 1 November will be at the the new price of $250+GST.

We hope the new features have and will help you in your work. Please contact us if you have any questions or feedback.

20 September 2017 - Options for printing colour spots and "SDS available" on labels

Colour spots now appear in the top corner of labels, corresponding to the user codes shown in the risk assessment. RiskAssess recommends the use of colour spots, but they can be turned off if you do not wish to use them. Similarly, the additional text "SDS available" is another possible option, especially useful for Canadian schools for WHMIS15.

31 August 2017 – Complete overhaul of User Codes and Training Codes!

We have reviewed and modified the chemical User Codes in light of the latest ECHA data and the GHS. RiskAssess has restricted the recommended users for chemicals causing fertility/genetic problems, cancers and allergic reactions, while expanding the recommended users for chemicals and solutions posing only minor hazards. Chemical User Codes are appropriate for an "average" class and are now colour-coded for easy identification. Training Codes for handling chemicals have also been updated. Although using codes is optional in RiskAssess, their use is recommended to increase safety.

14 August 2017 - Release 5 coming soon!

Release 5 of RiskAssess, Student RiskAssess and Primary RiskAssess will be released on 1 November and will cost $250+GST.

We have already introduced many improvements since Release 4 in 2015, including:

By November 1, Release 5 will also include:

As with previous updates, these upgrades will be automatically included in your current subscription. However, the price will increase when you next renew your subscription. Please note there has been no price increase for two years, even though we have added a complete GHS labelling system and lots of new features (scroll down for details). If you receive a renewal notice before 1 November 2017, it will be at the old price ($200+GST), and needs to be paid by the end of the year (otherwise the new price applies). All invoices from 1 November will be at the the new price of $250+GST.

We hope the new features have and will help you in your work. Please contact us if you have any questions or feedback.

4 August 2017 - Stocktaking & Usage Downloads

You can now download a report on your usage of chemicals, equipment and living things. The report is in CSV format for use in Excel, and covers the last 3 years. It includes how many times the item was used, and the date of last use. To access, click the "Tools" (cog icon) at the top right of your home page, and scroll down.
Note that the "Settings" cog has been renamed "Tools" to better indicate the range of functions available.

24 July 2017 - Curriculum requirements for students to do risk assessments

The new curriculum for Senior Science courses has already commenced or will commence next year in all States and Territories. The curriculum requires students to design investigations and conduct risk assessments. We have developed a version of RiskAssess, specifically for student use, to meet the needs of the Australian Curriculum. Please email with the name of your school, if you would like a free 2-week trial of Student RiskAssess, or you can read more about it here. More than 300 schools throughout Australia are already using Student RiskAssess!

20 July 2017 - Chemical database updated with 70 new items

We have added another 70 items, including water at different temperatures, radionuclides used in sealed radiation sources, more saturated solutions and new chemicals/solutions requested by users. If your favourite chemical is still missing, please let us know!

27 June 2017 - Reschedule experiments with signed risk assessments

We have added a 'Reschedule' button so that you can reschedule experiments with risk assessments that have been fully signed and are no longer modifiable (archived as PDF documents). Rescheduling creates a new risk assessment with new scheduling details, and maintains existing electronic signatures. The old risk assessment is deleted (but can be undeleted) and links are automatically added between both the old and new risk assessments. Reschedule only when all "relevant matters" (especially students and physical conditions) are the same.

24 May 2017 - Statistics: number of results and searching 'Current calendar year'

You can now collect statistical information about your risk assessments and experiments using the usual risk assessment search. Every search now displays the number of results found. We've also added a new option to restrict the search date to the 'Current calendar year'. For example, if you would like to know how many experiments Year 7 have done this year, you could choose Year Group: 7 and Date: Current calendar year, then click Search. The number of results is displayed at the top.

8 May 2017 - NZ safety laws: new era of enforcement in schools

Two students had their throats cut with a razor during a school play in April 2016 at St Kentigern College in Auckland and were admitted to hospital. In the first application of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to a school, WorkSafe NZ and the St Kentigern Trust Board have agreed on an Enforceable Undertaking, including payment of reparations and nationwide delivery of training on health and safety in the performing arts. See details.

12 April 2017 - You can now customise your year group list!

You can now add and remove year groups for your school, allowing you to customise the list to the subjects taught at your school. Just click on the Tools cog at the top right of your school home page, and then click Choose Year Groups.

4 April 2017 - Information on Label Stationery & Waterproofing

We have added a new page for labelling that lists compatible Avery label sheet codes (including Durable Heavy Duty labels) and also discusses waterproofing labels.

29 March 2017 - Server & Infrastructure Upgrades

We have upgraded servers and infrastructure to keep RiskAssess fast and to ensure the continued security and stability of the RiskAssess system.

15 March 2017 - Risk assessment search in Last calendar year

You can now easily search for the risk assessment that you did last year for the same experiment. When using the search on the right side of your home page, choose "Last calendar year" for the Date.

1 March 2017 - Tools Cog and Trials

Tools (cog at the top right of home page) allows you to update school contact details, check subscription expiry date, download a tax invoice and link a student subscription to a staff subscription to use security PINs. We've just added Trial Migration as well, which allows a newly-subscribed school to transfer risk assessments from a previous trial to their new subscription.

29 January 2017 - GHS labelling and SDSs now required by law in Australia!

By law from 1 Jan, all schools in ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS must have hazardous chemicals labelled according to GHS and the Code of Practice and must have SDSs "readily accessible" wherever a hazardous chemical is used or stored. Laws are binding on the Crown, so government schools must also comply. RiskAssess now provides a complete system for GHS labelling of pure chemicals, chemical mixtures and commercial products in small containers. See GHS labelling of chemicals for details.

We have also made significant upgrades to RiskAssess over the holidays, including Custom labelling, Editing chemical on labels, Safe dissection activities, and nearly 500 new database items, including many physics items and common dyes/indicators, saturated solutions and reagents (which are also available for labelling).

26 January 2017 - GHS labelling: law, logic and practice

We have written an explanation of GHS labelling of chemicals in Australia and how RiskAssess can help you meet your legal requirements through its new labelling features. It explains the different labelling requirements for "decanted or transferred hazardous chemicals" in dropper bottles, small jars and other containers used by students, and original containers provided by suppliers. Most of the document is also applicable to GHS labelling in New Zealand and Canada.

24 January 2017 - Custom Labelling

It is now possible to make custom labels by selecting any signal word, pictograms and hazard statements. Useful for commercial products, using data from SDSs, and for mixtures of chemicals not in the RiskAssess database (calculate yourself). This option is now available when you click 'Print Labels' on your home screen.

15 January 2017 - Equipment and biological databases updated and 250 new items added

We have updated the databases and added 250 new items suggested by users. Physics equipment items, in particular, have been expanded. There are now 1,328 equipment items and 338 biological items, taking the total to 1666 items. Please let us know if you find any equipment or biological items still missing or have any feedback on the new information.

10 January 2017 - Chemical database updated with 231 new items

We have added another 231 items, covering new chemicals, aqueous solutions, common saturated solutions, common reagents and indicators/dyes in mixed aqueous-alcoholic solutions. The new chemicals are all available for labelling too. We now have 2,309 records in the chemical database. If you find any chemicals still missing, please let us know.

14 December 2016 - Editing Chemical Name on labels

You can now edit the name of the chemical which is shown on the label. This is useful for adding common names like 'Borax' or adding additional information like 'Distilled water'.

11 December 2016 - Routine Safety Procedures updated and new Dissections section

We have revised and improved our recommended Routine Safety Procedures and the companion document on Safe Culturing of Microorganisms. We have also added a new section on Safe Dissection Activities. Please contact us if you have any further suggestions.

7 December 2016 - Increased Security with limited login attempts

We have further increased security by limiting the number of attempts at logging in with incorrect usernames or passwords. This is to stop people trying to guess your password.

28 October 2016 - Early notification for subscriptions expiring Nov to Feb

Many schools close their books late in the year and have trouble making payments during Jan-Feb. To assist, we will send on 1 Nov a reminder notice plus an invoice to all schools with subscriptions expiring Nov-Feb. Remember that you can download the invoice for next year's subscription for RiskAssess at any time during the year by clicking the Tools cog at the top right of your home page. For Student RiskAssess, you need to have linked the staff and student versions and be logged in using the staff password to be able to use the Tools cog to download your invoice at any time.

5 October 2016 - Troubles with Internet Explorer (Resolved)

We had reports from a few schools that they were having intermittent trouble signing electronically with Internet Explorer. This was caused by a combination of connection and configuration factors and is now fixed.

23 September 2016 - Improved Security with HTTPS

RiskAssess has now switched to HTTPS. You will likely see a new padlock icon near the top of your browser (it looks different depending on browser, often it is green). Everything else will look just the same in RiskAssess. HTTPS provides an extra layer of security, and is used in many sites such as Internet Banking.

10 August 2016 - "Safety in Schools" book NEW EDITION

The 2016 edition contains updated information on the WHS Act, GHS, hazardous chemicals, labelling, and new sections on equipment safety, biological safety and microbiological safety.

20 July 2016 - More chemicals and solutions

We have added another 59 chemicals and solutions to the chemical database, in response to user requests. We have also corrected a few errors and improved the text for some chemical advice. Please let us know if any chemicals or solutions that you use are still missing from the database!

29 June 2016 - Primary RiskAssess upgrades!

Based on feedback from our primary users, we have made a number of significant upgrades:

15 June 2016 - Labelling: % wt/wt now available!

We have had many requests for concentrations expressed in % wt/wt and have now added this option for labels.

8 June 2016 - Labelling: Printing Single Labels & Partial Sheets

We've added a new option in the labelling system so you can print just one or several labels, instead of needing to print a whole page at once. This means you can save both ink and sticky labels. It's also possible to re-use the same sheet of sticky labels several times for different chemicals, just printing as many labels as you need each time.

5 June 2016 - Labelling Questions and Answers

We have received many questions on labelling in the last week, and have put together the answers to common questions at the bottom of the labelling page. Detailed answers are available on topics including label compliance, black and white printing, cut-off values, differences vs other sources of information, etc.

29 May 2016 - Labelling is now available!

The much-awaited GHS labelling feature is now available from your homepage. Thank you to all those who provided feedback! You can now print 4 different-sized labels for either pure chemicals or solutions. If you choose a solution, the words and pictograms are automatically calculated based on the concentration you enter. You can print on sticky labels or plain paper. The labels comply with the Code of Practice, and pictograms and text automatically rearrange for best appearance. At this stage, you will need to print a full sheet of the same label. However, in the future, we will include the ability to print partial sheets, plus the option of including additional information on the labels (eg, year group colours, MW etc). Please try out the new labelling system and let us know if it works for you!

27 May 2016 - Penny joins RiskAssess Team

Penny Morse has joined the RiskAssess Team and will be answering some of your emails. She will be helping with administrative matters, such as accounts, trials and renewals. This will give Phillip and James more time to do developmental work and answer curly questions.

25 April 2016 - Feedback sought for new Labelling System

We are making great progress with developing our new GHS labelling system for chemicals. Now we need your feedback! Please check out our proposed label sizes, text and pictograms. We hope to have the system up and running mid-year. It will be included in your current RiskAssess subscription. Please try out the labels and email us at if you think they are suitable, or if you have any other requirements or suggestions.

2 April 2016 - RiskAssess officially approved by the Calgary Board of Education

After three years of extensive use and feedback from school staff, the Calgary Board of Education has decided that RiskAssess should be used in its 27 High Schools for performing risk assessments of science experiments. The Calgary Board of Education is the largest School Board in Alberta, Canada. Our thanks to the many teachers and science technicians who assisted in the evaluation!

1 April 2016 - Server & Infrastructure Upgrades

We have upgraded servers and infrastructure to keep RiskAssess fast and to ensure the continued security and stability of the RiskAssess system. There are also a few little tweaks that should make life easier for you!

17 February 2016 - Safety courses in Sydney 28-29 April and Launceston 4-5 May

Phillip Crisp will be running a two day intensive safety course in Sydney (29 and 30 April) and in Launceston (4 and 5 May) for Heads of Science, Science Teachers and Laboratory Technicians, covering the law, risk assessment, GHS, and much much more. Please see the new safety courses page for details!

14 January 2016 - Updated User Guides for RiskAssess and Student RiskAssess

We have just updated the User Guide for RiskAssess and the User Guide for Student RiskAssess to include information on the latest features, such as GHS data and the use of PINs. We include more explanations and tips! We recommend that you download and read the new guides, so that you can get the most out of the software.

29 December 2015 - Release 4 with GHS data is here!

We have just upgraded RiskAssess to Release 4 with Globally Harmonised System (GHS) chemical data. We have more than doubled the number of chemicals and solutions in the chemical database. Release 4 now has:

When you next log in, you will be using Release 4. All new risk assessments you create will automatically include GHS data for chemicals.

Any risk assessment you have created previously will still be accessible in the original format, but will show a notice at the top that it was created before GHS data were introduced into RiskAssess. When you next update (Author's update) or copy (Create Modifiable Copy) an old risk assessment, RiskAssess will automatically add GHS data for the chemicals and solutions included in the risk assessment. However, in cases where a chemical in the previous risk assessment corresponds to more than one chemical in the new system, RiskAssess cannot automatically choose a direct match. RiskAssess will show you the possible matches and let you choose the right one. You will only need to do this once for each risk assessment created before the GHS data were introduced, provided you make further modifiable copies or author updates from the converted risk assessment.

As with all previous upgrades, Release 4 is included in your current subscription. When you renew your subscription, all invoices dated from 1 January 2016 will be for $200.00 (plus GST). If you received an automated renewal notice before 31 December 2015, you only need to pay $160.00 (plus GST) to renew your subscription. Please note that there have been no price increases since Release 3 in August 2011, even though we have introduced lots of new features (scroll through RiskAssess News for details).

14 September 2015 - Release 4 with GHS data coming soon!

New versions of RiskAssess and Student RiskAssess, with GHS data, will be released during the Christmas holidays. You will be able to use them from the beginning of 2016! See Sample Risk Assessment with GHS. Release 4 ($200+GST per year) will contain:

The most exciting new feature in Release 4 is that GHS data will be included for all chemicals. The GHS system (Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals) is mandatory in Australia from 1 January 2017. For example:

Ghs na

As with all previous upgrades, this latest update is included in your current subscription. However, the price will increase when you next renew your subscription. Please note there have been no price increases since Release 3 in August 2011, even though we have introduced lots of new features (scroll through RiskAssess News for details). If you receive an automated renewal notice before 31 December 2015, you only need to pay the $160.00 (plus GST) to renew for the next year. All invoices dated from 1 January 2016 will be for $200.00 (plus GST).

14 August 2015 - Student PINs and using Student RiskAssess for assessment purposes

Over 150 schools now use Student RiskAssess to teach students how to carry out their own risk assessments in order to comply with the requirements of the Australian Curriculum. The most requested feature for Student RiskAssess has been a way to use it for assessment purposes. This is now possible by staff turning on a new feature to enable a security PIN for each student. This means that students can no longer see and copy other students' risk assessments. Staff can use their usual login to view all the student risk assessments. Find out more about Student PINs >

11 June 2015 - Inherent Risk Level in Classroom added to Scheduling Download

When you click the Download for Excel (CSV) button on the scheduling screen, the downloaded schedule now includes the inherent level of risk assigned by the teacher to the classroom activities. This indicates how potentially hazardous an experiment might be with no control measures in place besides those of "Routine procedures".

It is particularly useful for schools in QLD which need to maintain a "School Curriculum Activity Register" of experiments with High and Extreme levels of risk for CARA. Just download the csv file for a particular time period, open it in Excel and sort on "Classroom inherent risk level".

8 June 2015 - Tools for Billing & Contact Person

On the right side of your home page, near the log out link, there is now a new Tools link with a gear icon next to it. If you click this, you can download your next invoice, see when your subscription is paid until, and update the contact details for your school (Staff RiskAssess only).

16 May 2015 - Scheduling download now includes Author / Student Names

When you click the Download for Excel (CSV) button on the scheduling screen, the downloaded schedule now includes the Author (staff version) or Student Names (student version) to allow you to sort or print this information.

3 May 2015 - More equipment and biological items, especially Primary Science items

We have added nearly 200 new items to the equipment and biological databases to help all of our users, but especially those in primary schools. We are working on the next batch of items to add to the databases.

21 Feb 2015 - Scheduling For Any Dates

We've had a lot of requests for different date periods for the lab scheduling screen. So that we can cater to everyone, we've allowed you to choose whichever dates suit your school, and see the schedule for this period. You can also download the schedule as a CSV file for use in Excel, and this download now includes the lodged date and time too. If there are too many pracs to show in one go, they are split across multiple pages (click the Next > button at the bottom of the screen to see the next 100 pracs).

14 Feb 2015 - Server Upgrade for a Faster Site

We have just upgraded our servers to make the website faster and more responsive. Please note that if you have any troubles receiving emails from RiskAssess, please ask your IT team to allow all emails from 'riskassess.com.au' to be delivered to your school email address.

30 Dec 2014 - RiskAssess in Primary Schools!

Over the last year, we've had increasing interest from primary schools, especially in light of the new Australian Curriculum. Recently, a group of over 100 primary schools have come on board, and we will be expanding the databases to include more items for primary science. We have also added Foundation to 6 at the start of the year group list (Australia only).

If you are interested in subscribing to RiskAssess for use in primary schools, please let us know and we can ensure you are kept up to date on primary related improvements and have the opportunity to give feedback and help shape the product.

8 Nov 2014 - "Safety in Laboratories" course by Dr Phillip Crisp at University of Adelaide 4-5 Dec

We have had many requests for training courses in the use of RiskAssess and, more generally, for training in safety issues relating to school laboratories.

Phillip will be giving a 2-day "Safety in Laboratories" course for teachers and laboratory technicians at the University of Adelaide on 4-5 December, hosted by the Health, Safety and Environment Division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. If you would like to attend, please download the program and registration form from the RACI website then register through the RACI. The closing date for online registration is 26 November.

27 Aug 2014 - Improved Questions & Answers, and RiskAssess Presentations

To help you quickly answer questions you may have about RiskAssess, we have written a much expanded Questions and Answers page, with a search to help you find what you want.

We have also added recent RiskAssess presentations to Learning Resources. They are handy if you want to re-visit a presentation from a conference you attended, or if you are thinking of presenting on RiskAssess at an In-Service or PD.

16 July 2014 - Catching pracs accidentally scheduled in the past

A number of people have let us know about issues where pracs were accidentally scheduled in the past. For example, say it's 16 July, scheduling a prac for 4 July, when it should have been 4 August. To help with this, we now provide an error message for prac dates in the past (if the dates are newly added or changed).

2 July 2014 - New Chemical Register Template & Learning Resources

We have added to our Learning Resources three new documents:

15 April 2014 - Clearer Certification and Signature Sections

We have changed the colours of the certification sections for the teacher, the lab tech and the authorised person, so that it is easier for each person to find the correct section. Certification sections of printed and archived risk assessments remain uncoloured. Our thanks to those users who made this suggestion!

2 March 2014 - Learning Resources

We have added a new section to the site called Learning Resources which provides easy access to useful resources for conducting risk assessments using RiskAssess and Student RiskAssess.

22 Dec 2013 - Chemical database update

We have added another 40 chemicals to the database and updated text for over a hundred items. The database now includes 1043 unique chemicals (plus all their synonyms) which should cover virtually every chemical found in Australian, New Zealand and Canadian schools. If you have a chemical that is not listed, please let us know. This is a preliminary to the inclusion of GHS information (including solution data) next year!

30 October 2013 - Student names in Scheduling & Teacher training codes when copying

In Student RiskAssess, we now display the names of the students for each prac in the scheduling screen, in brackets after the teacher's name.

When you Create Modifiable Copy of a risk assessment, the Teacher's name is automatically cleared on the copy, so that people cannot miss updating it on the copy. We also now automatically clear the Teacher's chemical training code box as well.

3 August 2013 - Prep Notes, Scheduling Notes & expanding text boxes

We've had quite a number of requests for notes on the Laboratory Schedule screen to record preparation and scheduling related information. We've listened, and you can now add a Prep Note against any prac on the scheduling screen. Click the 'Add Prep Note' button to do so. You can now also see the Scheduling Notes (entered as part of the risk assessment form) on the Laboratory Schedule screen. Both these notes are now included in the Download for Excel (CSV).

The other improvement we have brought in today is automatically expanding text boxes for long text entry. Now, as you type more lines of text into boxes such as notes, procedure, control measures, etc, the text boxes will automatically expand downwards. This makes it much easier to edit and review long text.

22 June 2013 - Speed Improvements & Living Things Update

We have made some optimisations so that it is even faster to log in, and to view the scheduling screen with lots of pracs scheduled. We have also added to and updated the Living Things database.

5 June 2013 - Updated Online Information

We have updated information on suggested routine safety procedures. You will find this information available as a link where these procedures are mentioned on a risk assessment. We have also updated issues relating to culturing microorganisms. You will find this information available as a link from Routine Safety Procedures.

29 May 2013 - Student Subscriptions clearly differentiated

We've had feedback from schools which have a student subscription and a staff subscription that it is sometimes difficult to see which subscription is logged in. As a result, we have updated the student subscription to have a green background colour (rather than chocolate) and clearly state Student RiskAssess in the banner image at the top of each page. We have also made it clear in invoices and emails which come from Student RiskAssess and which are from RiskAssess for staff.

10 Apr 2013 - More database items and SA risk matrix

We have added a further 200 items suggested by our users to the equipment and biological databases. We will be adding more items into the future. We have also added the SA risk matrix, which must be used in all South Australian schools of the Department of Education and Child Development (DECD), to the School's risk matrix information. There are now more than 800 schools subscribing to RiskAssess and over 100 schools subscribing to Student RiskAssess as well!

26 Dec 2012 - Server Upgrade

We have just upgraded our servers so you will experience an even faster website in the new year.

17 Nov 2012 - Student RiskAssess!

We have just introduced a new version of RiskAssess for student use. Student RiskAssess allows students to carry out risk assessments as required for the new Australian Curriculum for Science, for the International Baccalaureate, and for extended investigations (student-initiated experiments). Student RiskAssess is a separate subscription which has been customised for student use. More about Student RiskAssess...

If you already have a second subscription for student use, we can upgrade it to Student RiskAssess at no additional cost. Please contact us and let us know the user name for your second subscription.

4 Nov 2012 - Teacher's name shown in Recent Risk Assessments

In our last update, we sent you a survey to ask your opinion on whether to show the author's name or the teacher's name in the recent risk assessments list. We had close to 150 people give us their advice. Thanks for taking the time to let us know what would work best at your school, and for the additional comments which we have read and will take on board.

The results are:

Acting on this feedback, we have changed the recent risk assessments to show the Teacher's name. For those who would still like to see the Author's name (or both), and more recent risk assessments than the 5 on the home page, we have added a 'See more...' link in the recent risk assessments box, which will take you to a longer list of recent risk assessments including more details.

Thank you everyone for your feedback, and for helping us make RiskAssess easier to use.

12 September 2012 - Hotlinks in Procedure / Reference

If you include links in the Procedure / Reference section of a risk assessment (eg, http://intranet/lab.pdf or www.example.com/lab.pdf), they will be automatically turned into clickable hotlinks in the resulting risk assessment. They will open in a new window when clicked. This is helpful if you reference pracs on the web, or on your school intranet.

3 August 2012 - Improved iPad and Smartphone experience

We have made a number of improvements which make RiskAssess easier to use and look more consistent on iPads and iPhones and other mobile devices.

25 July 2012 - Updated and expanded user guide

The user guide has been updated to include the new features recently introduced to RiskAssess and has been expanded to cover student subscriptions, preparation of stock solutions, archiving and long-term storage of risk assessments. We recommend that all users download the new guide and make use of the additional tips and ideas.

21 July 2012 - Explanation of Chemical Codes used in RiskAssess

To aid in understanding the chemical codes in RiskAssess, we have provided an explanation of chemical codes. You can now click these chemical codes when they are displayed on a risk assessment to see the explanation (the codes are now links).

18 July 2012 - Last Week of laboratory schedule now available from home page

It is now possible to see the last week (ie, previous 7 days) of practicals scheduled using the 'Last Week' link on your school home page.

21 June 2012 - Create Modifiable Copy now clears the Teacher field

We've had feedback from several schools that when people Create Modifiable Copies of pracs, there are often times when people miss updating the Teacher field, leading to pracs scheduled for the wrong teacher. To resolve this, when you next create a copy of a prac, the teacher field will be emptied (like the scheduling information) to ensure that this is updated.

2 June 2012 - Day of the week now shown on risk assessments

Scheduling information on risk assessments now includes the day of the week, in addition to the room, period and date.

30 May 2012 - Apron tick box now available in Control Measures

As aprons are used at many schools, we have added a tick box option for aprons in the control measures section of all risk assessments (there were already tick boxes for safety glasses, gloves, lab coat, etc).

16 May 2012 - Risk assessment emails now include more information

When you next email a risk assessment from RiskAssess, the email will include summary information about the risk assessment. This summary information shows up in the text of the email so you can find out more about the risk assessment without having to open the attached PDF file. This is particularly handy if you have lots of risk assessments emailed to you.

1 Apr 2012 - Renewal Reminder Message

If your school's subscription to RiskAssess is expiring within 30 days, and has not yet been renewed, you will now see a message about renewing your subscription on the home page when you log in. We have added this new message as sometimes renewal reminder emails have ended up in spam folders or been missed, or renewal payments have not gone through as planned.

21 Feb 2012 - New year groups for Year 10

We have added Year 10 Biology, Chemistry and Physics to the Year Group list as these subjects are available at a number of schools.

19 Feb 2012 - Information on issues relating to culturing of microorganisms

We have added information on issues relating to culturing microorganisms. You will find this information available as a link from Routine Safety Procedures.

26 November 2011 - Information on Routine Safety Procedures

We have added information on suggested routine safety procedures. You will find this information available as a link where these procedures are mentioned on a risk assessment.

1 Oct 2011 - Scheduling now shows the lodged date & time

A number of lab techs have mentioned that when they get multiple orders for the same day and period, they cannot tell which was lodged first. To help with this, the laboratory scheduling screen now shows the lodged date and time, at the bottom of the 'Experiment & Procedure' section for each prac.

10 September 2011 - Information Updates & VIC DEECD Compliance

We have updated the chemical training code information with further details and examples plus revised the user guide. Also, we have written a new document on Risk Assessment Made Easy to provide further information on the logic of the risk assessment process.

For Victorian Schools - DECD Compliance

RiskAssess complies with the new requirements for Victorian DEECD schools for risk assessments. To make access easier, the Victorian DEECD risk matrix has now been added to the risk matrix document provided within RiskAssess.

RiskAssess complies with the DEECD requirements since it:

RiskAssess goes well beyond the DEECD system by providing:

13 August 2011 - RiskAssess has been upgraded to Release 3!

We believe the new features in the Release 3 will be of great value to all schools. Release 3 allows better recording of control measures and approvals, but retains a simple format for experiments with "low" risk.

Users in Queensland Government Schools should find Release 3 particularly valuable, since Release 3 fully satisfies the new requirements of the Queensland Department of Education and Training (RiskAssess is a "more detailed risk assessment proforma" according to HLS-PR-012: Managing Risks in School Curriculum Activities).

Release 3 Features

Release 3 of RiskAssess offers the following new features:

Using Release 3

Release 3 has all the functionality of Release 2 and more. To use Release 3 just like Release 2, simply log in and click "Start Blank Risk Assessment >". To learn more about how to use the new Release 3 features, please see the User Guide.

Pricing

As with all previous upgrades, this latest update is included in your subscription. However, when you next renew your subscription, there will be a price increase from $120.00 to $160.00 (plus GST). It has been almost 2 years since Release 2 and, in addition to the new features described above, we have made several other major improvements including the laboratory scheduling system and the safety information quick search. We have also added hundreds of new items to the chemical, equipment and living things databases.

If you have already been sent a renewal invoice for your subscription, you only need to send the $120.00 + GST to renew. Please email us a copy of the invoice to take advantage of this offer.

Future Upgrades

We plan to improve the disposal information in RiskAssess, and provide more advice regarding common solutions and concentrations. We are continuing to add items to the databases, so that a wider range of items can be located without needing to enter them in the "Other items" text box. We are also looking into providing a file upload system which will allow you to attach files to risk assessments, such as documents, scans and images.

Thank you again for your continued support of RiskAssess. If you have any suggestions, comments or questions, please contact us.

We hope you enjoy Release 3!

31 July 2011 - Release 3 Upgrade on 13 August

We are pleased to announce that we will be upgrading RiskAssess to Release 3 on 13 August 2011. There will be a short time period during Friday night / Saturday morning of 12-13 August when RiskAssess will not be available during our upgrading process.

We believe the new features in the Release 3 will be of great value to all schools, based on the feedback we have received. Users in Queensland Government Schools should find Release 3 particularly valuable, since Release 3 fully satisfies the new requirements of the Queensland Department of Education and Training.

Release 3 of RiskAssess will offer the following new features:

Release 3 can be used either as a paper-based system or as a fully electronic system with archival storage within RiskAssess, as in the previous Release.

We will send you an email on the day of the upgrade with further information about the new easy-to-use features.

14 May 2011 - RiskAssess Release 3 Coming Soon!

We have introduced a number of improvements since Release 2 of RiskAssess, including:

These improvements were prompted by suggestions from our users. Our thanks to you all!

We are planning to introduce a major new feature in the middle of this year: you will be able to choose the inherent risk level of an experiment, both for performing an experiment in the classroom and for preparation/cleanup. If the experiment is medium or high risk, you will also be able to record your control measures to reduce the risk to a low (acceptable) level. We will make it easy for you to choose PPE and other common control measures without additional typing. We will also provide more information about risk matrices and examples of their use.

Recording of the inherent risk level and control measures has been requested by a number of our users. Furthermore, the QLD Department of Education has recommended such a risk assessment approach. The VIC Department of Education is also advocating similar measures.

We will soon release an updated chemical database, with additional chemicals and updated information.

As with all upgrades in the past, there is no additional software to install, and upgrades are included in your subscription. As we have added many new features to RiskAssess since Release 2, over the last year and a half, there will be a small price increase when you next renew your subscription after the implementation of Release 3 mid-year.

We hope these new features will help you in your work. Please feel free to contact us if you have any thoughts, questions or suggestions about RiskAssess Release 3.

9 April 2011 - Futher Year Groups

We had a number of additional requests for year groups and have added: 10,11,12 Agriculture and Prep Room to the list.

5 March 2011 - Additional Year Groups

We have added the following new year groups to the list: Primary Science; 10,11,12 Engineering; 12 Multi-Strand Science.

3 Jan 2011 - Major Equipment and Living Things Database Update

We have tripled the size of the living things database and almost doubled the size of the equipment database, including adding many more physics items. New entries come from your suggestions plus we reviewed the "other items" entered over the last 6 months and have added the most common into the databases. This means you will now find a lot of things that you previously had to enter in the "other items" section. Thank you to everyone who sent us suggestions! If you have an item that you use commonly which is not listed, please let us know.

24 December 2010 - Deleting Risk Assessments

It is now possible to delete risk assessments. There is a 'Delete' button at the top of each risk assessment when it is displayed. Deleted risk assessments do not show up in recent risk assessments, searches or the scheduling view. If a risk assessment is deleted by mistake and you would like to recover it, click on the 'Deleted' link in the Risk Assessment Search box on the home page. All deleted risk assessments will be displayed, and you can click on one and choose to undelete it.

23 October 2010 - Sulfur/Sulphur Spelling

The SI and IUPAC spelling for sulfur and sulfur compounds is with an 'f'. However, another common, but less standard spelling is with a 'ph'. Eg, 'copper sulphate'. RiskAssess will now find sulfur compounds when searching with a 'ph', but will always display them using the SI/IUPAC spelling with a 'f' (eg, 'copper sulfate').

18 October 2010 - Prepared? tick box for Laboratory Scheduling

There is now a 'Prepared?' column in the Laboratory Scheduling screen, and a tick box for each practical. The tick box is designed to help laboratory technicians keep track of which practicals are already prepared, and see when new practicals have been requested and are not yet prepared. The tick box also helps teachers by giving them a way to easily confirm that their practical request has been received and is ready.

3 October 2010 - Last Week's Practicals now in Laboratory Schedule

Choose "Last Week" from the drop down list at the top of the Laboratory Schedule screen, to see the last 7 days of practicals.

29 August 2010 - Safety Information Search And Search Improvements

In the recent new features survey, the most requested feature was a quick search screen for finding information on chemicals / equipment / living things without completing a risk assessment. We have been working on this as a priority and it is now available! You will find it on your home page when you next log in. It is called the Safety Information Search. We have also improved the search for chemicals, equipment and living things to make it easier to find these resources.

9 June 2010 - Results and Feedback from the New Features Survey

We had a great response in the new features survey, with over 110 people letting us know what to build next, and sending in suggestions. It's been great to get so much good feedback, and we now have a clear view of what would be most useful to build next.

One of the most common suggestions we received related to increasing the laboratory scheduling view up to 4 weeks into the future. We have now added this option.

On average, people rated the features as follows:

Very Useful (we will focus on these first!)

Useful

Slightly Useful

Other Suggestions

We also had a lot of great suggestions in the free text box. We have gone through them and taken them on board. Some of the most suggested were:

5 June 2010 - Longer Scheduling View

We've had quite a number of requests to provide a longer view into the future on the scheduling screen, to help with ordering and planning. You can now see the laboratory schedule 4 weeks into the future. Note that days will only be displayed if they have risk assessments / practicals scheduled.

29 May 2010 - What new features would you like?

With the new scheduling system now up and running, we are deciding what new features to build into RiskAssess next.

Click here to let us know what to build next!

We've had quite a few suggestions coming in, and we thought the best way to decide what next to build was to ask our users what would help them most. So we've put together a small page on which you can choose the new features that would be most helpful for you. Click the link above to participate.

15 May 2010 - New Laboratory Scheduling Feature

Over the last few months, as a result of feedback from our users, we have been building a laboratory scheduling system into RiskAssess. We have had a lot of advice and feedback from a wide group of laboratory technicians and teachers, and we expect that it will save a lot of time. For laboratory technicians, it provides a day-by-day view of upcoming experiments, so that it is no longer necessary to keep track of these on a board or calendar. For teachers, it is no longer necessary to email or otherwise let laboratory technicians know about upcoming practicals entered into RiskAssess. Please the sections below for details.

Laboratory Scheduling Screen

Note: the scheduling screen will only display risk assessments entered after today, as there has been a small change to the risk assessment form to support the new scheduling system.

From the home page, you can now choose to view the laboratory schedule for "Today", "Tomorrow" or "One Week". The laboratory scheduling screen is a day-by-day view of upcoming experiments. It shows summary information about each experiment, and also provides a link to the full risk assessment for further details and/or electronic signing. As soon as a new risk assessment is entered in the system for an experiment, it will automatically show up in the scheduling screen.

In many schools, teachers prepare risk assessments and then send them to laboratory technicians for review, signing and preparation. The scheduling screen helps this process by giving the laboratory technicians an up to date list of experiments that they can review, sign and prepare. Since laboratory technicians can do all this all from the scheduling screen, it is generally not necessary for teachers to email risk assessments to laboratory technicians, or notify them by other means.

It can often be beneficial to have a "cut off time" for practicals to be lodged in RiskAssess (e.g. one or two days before the practical), to allow the laboratory technicians time to prepare in advance, and get an accurate listing of upcoming practicals. In rare cases where the "cut off time" was missed, teachers could still email the risk assessment to laboratory technicians to ensure that they are aware of it (although it will show up automatically on the scheduling screen).

In schools where laboratory technicians prepare the risk assessments, the scheduling screen is still useful to help co-ordinate preparation and give a calendar view of upcoming risk assessments.

Note: You will only see risk assessments entered into the system after today showing up in the scheduling screen. This is because we have made some changes to the risk assessment form to make the scheduling system possible (see below).

Changes to the Risk Assessment Form

Please note that the scheduling section on the risk assessment form has changed slightly. Rather than having one box for room, period, date information, this information is split into separate boxes. You can enter the date directly (eg, 10/5 for 10 of May 2010) or click the calendar icon to choose from a calendar view. If you have more than 2 classes for the experiment, click 'More classess...'. Each time you click it, 2 more rows will be added for class details. You can also enter additional scheduling notes for the laboratory technician in the big text box.

If you have any questions or suggestions around the new scheduling system, please contact us.

19 Mar 2010 - Sorting Search Results

When you do a risk assessment search, you can now sort the results by clicking the column heading you want to sort by. For example, click on the 'Date' heading to sort all of the search results in order from most recent risk assessment to oldest risk assessment. Clicking a second time on the column heading will reverse the sort (eg, from oldest to most recent). The arrow next to the column heading shows the direction of the sort.

31 Jan 2010 - Major chemical database update

The database now covers 1004 unique chemicals (plus all their synonyms) which should cover virtually every chemical found in Australian and New Zealand schools. If you have a chemical that is not listed, please let us know.

20 November 2009 - New ISO standard for Risk Management: RiskAssess goes global!

Today, the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4360:2004 was accepted by the International Organization for Standardization as an international (ISO) standard, with only slight modifications and additions. The new standard is called "Risk Management - Principles and Guidelines" and has been renamed AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009.

The history of this change is interesting. The joint Australian - New Zealand Committee that oversees the standard on risk management decided in 2004 that, rather than review the standard again in 2009, it would submit the standard to the International Organization for Standardization for consideration as the first international standard on risk management. The AS/NZS standard was used as the first draft. Following extensive consultation, the standard was adopted with only changes in the definition of risk, more explicit statement of principles, greater guidance on risk management, and an Annex on enhanced risk management. So, the Australian and New Zealand Standards Committees have made a significant contribution to improving risk management for the entire planet.

For RiskAssess, the changes are tiny.

The certification sections now reference the new standard and the old guidelines. The old guidelines are still current, but will probably soon to be updated, since they reference the old standard. The processes in RiskAssess do not change. The new standard states explicitly that "The process described for managing risk is identical to that in AS/NZS 4360:2004".

Your school should purchase a copy of the new standard, AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009, since this is now the practical and legal basis of RiskAssess and all your school's risk assessments.

Since RiskAssess now follows an ISO standard on Risk Management, RiskAssess is applicable in every country and in every organization that follows the ISO standard system. This means that skills you acquire with RiskAssess are international. In practice, you can use your risk assessments in virtually every country on the planet.

31 October 2009 - RiskAssess Release 2 now live for Australia!

The upgrade of the RiskAssess system to Release 2 went smoothly today. Release 2 is now ready for you to use. We recommend that you read the release 2 user guide to ensure you get the most out of the upgrade.

25 October 2009 - RiskAssess Release 2 User Guide Now Available

Download the RiskAssess Release 2 User Guide in PDF format.

25 October 2009 - Australian RiskAssess upgrade to Release 2 on 31 October

RiskAssess Release 2 has now been tested by a number of schools and is working well. We are providing Release 2 as a free upgrade for all subscribers. As RiskAssess is web based, the upgrade is automatic - there is no need to install a new version on your computer.

On Saturday 31 October, we will be upgrading the main RiskAssess server to Release 2. Please note that RiskAssess will not be available for use on this day. After this date, when you next log in, you will see the new Release 2 of RiskAssess. There are a number of new features that will save you time and help with risk assessment documentation.

Release 2 Features

Release 2 allows you to store your risk assessments online. Once one staff member at your school has created a risk assessment for an experiment, other staff members can view and copy this risk assessment, and customise it accordingly. This is an improvement on Release 1, since each staff member will not need to create the risk assessment from scratch.

You can carry out part of a risk assessment on one day, store it online, and return to it at a later date. Risk assessments can also be reviewed online as part of your annual review process, copied, and re-used for the following year.

With Release 2, you can continue doing your risk assessments in exactly the same way as before, and gradually introduce streamlined work practices as appropriate for your school. When you email a risk assessment to another person, the second person can click on a link in the email to go straight to the editable form of the risk assessment, for completion and electronic signing. The RiskAssess system will automatically archive the risk assessment after an electronic signature has been entered by both the teacher and the laboratory technician. Storing risk assessments with two electronic signatures avoids the need for paper records. You do not need to print your risk assessments, if you do not wish.

Archival risk assessments can no longer be modified. This means that you have an electronic record for reference, and for legal purposes in the future. We will do our utmost to ensure the long-term security of these records, but recommend that you save a copy on your own computer as a backup.

The file format in Release 2 has been changed from HTML to PDF, which means that risk assessments will print more reliably and use as few pages as possible.

With Release 2, you will notice the site is running significantly faster. We have set up a new server in Australia, and made a number of optimizations, so that the site responds very quickly.

We have also improved the help system. If you put your mouse pointer over a button, or box, you will be shown help information in a yellow box.

Using Release 2

Release 2 has all the functionality of Release 1 and more. To use Release 2 just like Release 1, simply log in and click "Start Blank Risk Assessment >". To learn more about how to use the new Release 2 features, see the user guide.

Please note that Release 2 uses PDFs for electronic documents. The PDF format prints better than the HTML format used in Release 1 and is also better for a legal record. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader installed (it is free and most people already have it installed), we recommend you download and install it from http://get.adobe.com/reader/. If you use Firefox on an Apple Mac, you will need an additional plug-in available at http://code.google.com/p/firefox-mac-pdf/.

Pricing

Since Release 2 provides much more functionality than Release 1, we will be increasing the annual subscription cost of RiskAssess from $80.00 to $120.00 (plus GST), for all renewals and new subscriptions, effective from 31 October 2009. This means that when you renew your subscription, it will be at the new price. We have spent a year designing, building and testing the Release 2 upgrade, and we are confident that you will find it a big improvement.

If you have already been sent a renewal invoice for $80.00 for your subscription, you only need to send the $80.00 +GST to renew. Please email us a copy of the invoice to take advantage of this offer.

Future Upgrades

Over the coming months, we will continue to expand the equipment database, adding more detailed disposal information and adding a risk matrix. As with previous upgrades, they will all be included in your subscription.

Thank you again for your continued support of RiskAssess. If you have any suggestions, comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us .

9 September 2009 - RiskAssess Release 2 coming soon!

We have been working hard to bring you an improved version of RiskAssess that will allow you to store your risk assessments online in the RiskAssess system, and save you time by improving workflow. The improved system, called Release 2, is planned for release in late October. There will be no additional cost for current users. Closer to the release date, we will be sending subscribers a user guide to help you get the most out of Release 2. The rest of this post gives pre-release information about Release 2.

Release 2 allows you to store your risk assessments online. Once one staff member at your school has created a risk assessment for an experiment, other staff members can view and copy this risk assessment and customise it accordingly. This means that each staff member does not need to create the risk assessment from scratch, as with Release 1.

You can email a risk assessment with your electronic signature to another person who can complete it and add a further electronic signature. The RiskAssess system will then automatically archive any risk assessment with two electronic signatures as an electronic document, which can no longer be modified. This means that you have an electronic record for reference and for legal purposes in the future. We will do our utmost to ensure the long-term security of these records.

You can carry out part of a risk assessment on one day, store it online, and return to it at a later date. Risk assessments can also be reviewed online as part of your annual review process, copied, and re-used for the following year.

The file format in Release 2 has been changed from HTML to PDF, which means that risk assessments will print more reliably and use as few pages as possible.

With Release 2, you can continue doing your risk assessments in exactly the same way as before, and gradually introduce streamlined work practices as appropriate for your school. When you email a risk assessment to another person, the second person can click on a link to go straight to the editable form of the risk assessment, for completion and electronic signing. The RiskAssess system will automatically archive the risk assessment after the second electronic signature has been attached, unless there is a change by the second person. Storing risk assessments with two electronic signatures, obviates the need for paper records.

You do not need to print your risk assessments, if you do not wish. Risk assessments are stored on the RiskAssess system and you can store risk assessments for your school electronically on your own school system for your reference and as a further backup.

How secure are your risk assessments stored on the RiskAssess system?
Release 2 operates from a new (and faster) server in Australia, with continuous backup to a server in the USA. Both servers are backed up by their providers. In addition, we carry out regular backups to a computer in Australia, which is also backed up. While we give no guarantee that RiskAssess will preserve your data, we have made the new system as secure as we can. In the rare event that the Australian server goes down, we have arranged RiskAssess to switch automatically to the server in the USA. During that time, RiskAssess will be unavailable for 15-30 min while the transfer is in progress. There are also occasional periods of a few minutes duration, usually late at night, when the system is unavailable while upgraded databases or software are being uploaded. We will do our utmost to ensure secure long-term data storage, but we cannot warrant that RiskAssess will forever store your records. We recommend that you securely store your risk assessments on your own school system, as an additional backup.

Thank you to all those who have made suggestions for improvements to RiskAssess. Your suggestions have all been noted and many of them have been implemented. We will add as many of the requested features as quickly as we can. After we have Release 2 of RiskAssess up and running to everyone's satisfaction, the next major development will be disposal information for chemicals. We will also continue adding items to the databases, especially the equipment database, so that a wider range of items can be located without needing to enter them in the 'Other risks' text box. RiskAssess is still work-in-progress.

We hope that the new features of Release 2 will considerably help you in your work.

Please contact us if you have any questions or if you wish to discuss RiskAssess Release 2.

1 September 2009 - Improved equipment database

As a result of customer feedback, we have recently added a further 150 items to the equipment database to help you. We will continue to add new items over the coming months.

3 Feb 2009 - Payment by electronic transfer

Schools can now pay for RiskAssess using electronic transfer.

1 Feb 2009 - Chemical user codes & year group

There is now an optional field for teachers and laboratory technician s to enter their chemical user codes. The system will stop the user from completing a risk assessment which requires teachers or laboratory technician s to handle chemicals which are outside of their user codes.

Also, you can now choose the year group from a list, rather than having to type it in each time. Please tell us if there is anything that you think is missing from the year group list. Note that if you choose 'Other' from the year group list, the old box will be displayed that allows you to enter free text for the year group.

24 Nov 2008 - Automatic date entry for risk assessments

Risk assessments now use the current date and do not allow or require users to enter a date for the risk assessment, as they did previously.

14 Nov 2008 - Send risk assessments to multiple email addresses

Previously, it was only possible to email a risk assessment to one person at a time. Now, you can enter multiple destination email addresses, separating them with a semi-colon (;).

7 Oct 2008 - Electronic Signatures

Teachers and laboratory technician s can now sign off risk assessments electronically.

22 Sep 2008 - Enhanced Data & Other Risks field

Significant enhancements and additions to the data provided on chemicals, equipment and living organisms. Also, the "Other Risks" field is now regularly reviewed for items to add to the database, so that you will not need to use it in future.

9 Aug 2008 - User Name for Easier Log In

Previously, you needed to log in to Risk Assess with your full school name, even if this was quite long (eg, Sydney Grammar School For Boys). You can now have a short user name to log in with (eg, SGS), while still having your full school name displayed on Risk Assessments. Contact us if you would like a short user name set up for your school.

8 Aug 2008 - Improved Search

Improved search to include plurals. This means that you can now search on 'test tubes', and you will find 'test tube'. Previously, you needed to search for the singular versions of equipment and living organisms to find them.