How to conduct a risk assessment.

You need to think through each element of your activity/equipment/venue. Think about what could go wrong, and what you are going to do to avoid this. Then write down your decisions, and the reasons you have made them. Make sure you include things that you have already planned to do (e.g. if you are already planning to use soft mats in front of the bouncy castle, you should still include this in the risk assessment). You may find it useful to write down your thoughts and decisions in a grid which includes what the hazards are and what you will do to avoid them. We have supplied a grid for your use here.

Venue

Risk assessing a venue requires inspecting it thoroughly and working out where and how people could get hurt. Are there loose bits of carpet people could trip on? Could the floor be slippery if wet? Could someone be hurt carrying the tables around? Think about all the things that could cause problems, and what you have done or will do to minimise the risk.

Example:

Imagine you are mentoring in a village hall. You have noticed that if the tables are stacked incorrectly, they could fall and injure someone. To reduce this risk, you decide to instruct all parent helpers in how to stack the tables correctly. Once you have decided this, you should make a note of the hazard, and what you will do to avoid it, in your risk assessment.

Sample risk assessment of a venue

Equipment

If you are risk assessing a specific piece of equipment, you need to think about how it will be used and how people could get hurt using it. Could it be dangerous if it is not well maintained? Could people be hurt if they don’t use it correctly? How will you try to ensure these things don’t happen?

 Example:

Imagine you have bought a PA system to use at a drama experience. You identify that it is very heavy, and someone could injure themselves trying to lift it. To minimise this risk, you decide to buy a trolley, and make sure all helpers know that they should use this to move it around. Once you have decided this, you should write down the hazard, and what you have done to minimise it, in your risk assessment.

Sample risk assessment for a piece of equipment

Event / Activity

A risk assessment for an event or activity needs to include:

  • The venue/where it will be held (see venue risk assessment).

  • The equipment that will be used (see equipment risk assessment).

  • The people who will be attending. Do they have any particular needs that might make them more likely to hurt themselves? Do you need to make sure children are supervised? Is there anyone attending that could hurt anyone else?

Example:

Imagine you are running a children’s cycling activity. You identify the following hazards:

  • If unsupervised, the children could take dangerous risks and potentially harm themselves.

  • There is one child that sometimes gets angry and has in the past injured other children.

 To minimise the risk of harm to the children, you decide to:

  • Make sure there is at least 1 adult per 6 children, so they can be properly supervised.

  • Have one adult especially assigned to supporting the child who gets angry, so that they can take part and enjoy the activity while minimising risk to others.

Once you have decided this, you should write it down in your risk assessment.

The activity itself: In what ways could people be hurt participating in the activity?

Example:

Imagine you are running a yoga class. You identify the following hazard:

  • People with existing back problems could injure themselves if they do something too strenuous.

To minimise the risk of injury, you decide to:

  • Ask all participants to tell the teacher about any existing injuries, so that the activity is appropriate for the participants.

Once you have decided this, you should write it down in your risk assessment.

Sample risk assessment of an activity

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