Zombie Science: 1G Lecture Risk Assessment

This is the Risk Assessment page the for show Zombie Science 1Z. The following is an excerpt from the primary source risk assessment. The primary is the most up-to date this page is for convenience.

Zombie Science 1G Risk Assessment

This is the risk assessment for Zombie Science 1G, a science show about genetics and gene therapy delivered by Doctor Austin in mock lecture format.

Public title: Zombie Science 1G

Character: Doctor Austin - Theoretical Zombiologist

Actor: Austin Low

Show format: Spoof lecture

Last updated: 15 October 2011

Risk Assessment Author: Douglas Macdonald


This is a science comedy show, in the form of a University Lecture, about the real science behind Zombies. It is delivered by Doctor Austin, head of the Institute of Zombology at the University of Glasgow. The show, in the format of a University Lecture with slides, talk and a few demonstrations, is generally low risk. The demonstrations do not involve any hazardous materials and the projectile experiment utilise a children's toys. The specific risks and measures to mediate these risks are detailed below.

General trip and slip hazards

Stage equipment, wires, set and demos give potential trip and slip hazards for the performer and members of the public invited onto the stage. Furthermore, some of the individual demonstrations provide their own specific potential slip and trip hazard -these are covered in their own sections.

Hazard: wires, set, slippy floors etc..

Risks: trip slip and falls

Existing controls: show is designed with mitigating these risks in mind.

Risk rating: Notable-injury x Rare = Medium

Additional Controls: Performer training and rehearsals. The performer remove trip hazards before show. The performer should have material to clean up slip hazards during the show. The performer should maintain a tidy stage during the show. When invited onto the stage, the performer should brief and maintain control of participants. The performer should make sure that slip hazards are cleaned up during the show.

Final risk rating: Likely x Minor-injury=Medium


Given that the staging environment is safe and that the trip and slip hazards are no worse than the every day, a medium risk rating is fair assessment.


Genetic jigsaw

This demonstration illustrates how scientists identify susceptibility genes. 8 volunteers are brought to the stage and given masks to cover their face and A4 jigsaws to wear around their necks.

Hazard: Doctor Austin’s Mask

The masks are laminated pictures of Doctor Austin’s face. They are used to cover the volunteers whole face and held in place with attached elastic. There are no eye holes and so the vision is almost completely obscured.

Risk: Trips, falls and collisions. With the vision obscured there is an increased risk of trips, falls and collisions and associated injuries.

Risk rating: Likely x Notable-injury = High

Additional Controls: Area where the volunteers are to stand cleared of obstructions and trip hazards. Presenter instructs the volunteers not to move when they have the masks in place. Presenter monitors the volunteers continuously.

Final risk rating: Unlikely x Notable-injury = Low

Risk: Eye injury. When positioning on head eye injury from elasticated or mask.

Risk rating: Rare x Serious-injury = High

Additional Controls: Volunteers instructed how to position masks correctly.

Final risk rating: Unlikely x Serious-injury = Medium

Hazard: Jigsaw placard

A laminated placard with a graphic of a jigsaw is hung around the volunteers neck.

Risks: With a lanyard around the neck the neck there is a risk of garrote.

Existing controls: 1. Thin easily breakable string, 2. string attachments also easily breakable and 3. long string.

Risk rating: Unlikely x Insignificant-injury = Low

Additional controls: Presenter to control the activity of the volunteers.

Final risk rating: Unlikely x Insignificant-injury = Low

Conclusions: This is a low risk demonstration but key to maintaining this rating is the control of the volunteers by the presenter. In particular, with the masks.

Zombie Bite

Hazard: This experiment simulates a Zombie bite by asking a volunteer to eat into a Swiss Roll.

Risk: Allergic reaction to ingredients

Existing controls:

Risk rating: Unlikely x Serious-injury = Medium

Additional Controls: The volunteer should be given the opportunity to refuse the food.

Final risk rating:

Risk: Choking

Existing controls: Being a soft cake, even if choking occurs it should be easily cleared.

Risk rating: Rare x Notable-injury = Medium

Additional Controls: Some water may assist.

Final risk rating: Rare x Notable-injury = Medium


Given that the likelihood is low that anyone with a relevant life-threatening food allergy would freely volunteering for this experiment the final risk rating of 'high' is unfounded and therefore assessed as low. The soft nature of the cake itself also renders its choking risk low.

Viral vectors

Hazard: This is a demo where two volunteers are used, with head bands and plastic balls, to demonstrate virus as a vector.


Existing controls:

Risk rating:

Additional Controls::

Final risk rating:

Conclusions: There are no additional risks introduced to the show by this demo.

Cross bow

Hazard: The fast moving ' crossbow bolts'. Despite the title, this is demonstration is based on a child's sucker firing toy cross bow. The crossbow is used to aim at targets held by Doctor Austin.

Risks: Eye Injury.

Existing controls: The cross bow bolts are a plastic toy.

Risk rating: Likely x Serious-injury = High

Additional Controls: The volunteer and anyone close-by should wear goggles. The volunteer should be given instruction on how to operate the crossbow safely. The volunteer should be allowed a practice. The shooter should be facing away from the audience at all times. Doctor Austin should be wearing adequate eye protection. The presenter should remain in control at all times.

Final risk rating: Rare x Notable-injury = Medium


This is already an acceptable children's toy and with the additional control measures in place there is little chance of an eye injury. However, vigilance needs to be maintained to keep the risks low, therefore a medium risk is a fair rating.

Risk rating table

Risk rating = Likelihood x Severity

Insignificant-injury: no first aid requiring.

Minor-injury: Negligible injury requiring first aid.

Notable-injury: Reversible injury requiring up to a week to recover.

Serious-injury: Irreversible or requiring more than a week to recover.

Severity / Likelihood

Severity: The extent of the harm (injury or ill health) should the risk occur.

Likelihood: The chance of the risk or event actually occurring.

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