What is a Risk Assessment?
This is a document which helps you clearly identify the hazards involved with your group and what you will do to reduce the risk of these happening.
Those running the society have a legal duty of care to ensure the safety of its members and any other people who may be affected by its activities and events. A risk assessment is not just a box ticking exercise, it is a useful checklist of what might go wrong and how your society and committee can reduce the risk. In the event of an accident you will need to produce your risk assessment as part of proving the committee fulfilled their legal duty of care.
How do I assess risk?
For every hazard, you need to ask yourself how severe it is and how likely it is to happen. Severity and likelihood are each given a value, which are multiplied together to give you the risk factor. The tables below are useful for deciding what numbers to assign severity and likelihood.
As the organisers of your society it is your responsibility to ensure that your events and activities are as safe as possible for your members and others. In order to manage the safety of your group it is compulsory for every group to carry out a risk assessment.
Hazards: This is the potential of a substance, activity or process to cause harm. Risk: This is the likelihood of the substance, activity or process to cause harm.
When to do a Risk Assessment
Standard Risk Assessments
All societies should have a standard Risk Assessment, which covers their regular activities. Standard risk assessments should be updated and revised annually at the point of committee handover. You should not undertake any activities with your group until this document and process has been completed and your Development Coordinator is happy for you to proceed.
Specific Events/Activities Risk Assessment
If your group choose to do a one-off event or activity which is not covered by your standard risk assessment, you should complete a separate specific risk assessment.
If you don’t complete a risk assessment for your event or follow your standard risk assessment you are exposing you and your members to serious dangers and consequences, which could result in criminal prosecution.
What do I use a Risk Assessment for?
- Identifying the hazards and risks involved in your group?s activity and taking action to reduce them.
- Educating your members (old and new) about these hazards and most importantly informing them how to reduce the risk of them happening. Make the document available to your members to read at any time to help guide them in carrying out the group's activity.
- Providing documented proof that you as the responsible individual have considered the hazards and risks of your group?s activity on your members and others and have put in place the measures needed to be taken to reduce these risks.
- Remember! Socials and trips held by groups must also be risk assessed - you have a responsibility for your members’ safety at these events too!
Where can I get help completing the Risk Assessment?
- Ask your Development Coordinator to guide you when completing the assessment. But make sure you give yourself ample time before your event to complete the risk assessment, weeks not days!
- Many groups who have a National Governing Body (NGB) can access risk assessment templates specific to their activity from their NGB?s website and resources.
You can find the sample risk assessment here, along with the template here.