A risk assessment will ensure that you have proper plans in place for public safety. 

The Health and Safety Executive define a risk assessment as nothing more than a careful examination of what, in your event, could cause harm to people.

A hazard means anything that can cause harm (open flames, food contamination, inadequate safety barriers, etc). A risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody will be harmed by the hazard. 

We advise you to complete a risk assessment early on in your event planning. Keep it simple – your assessment and the safeguards that you put in place should go as far as is reasonably necessary. 

Five steps to risk assessment

  1. Identify the hazards
    • Physical hazards – such as vehicles, slippery surfaces, electrics
    • Hazardous substances – such as fumes, gasses
    • Environmental – such as noise, poor lighting, weather
    • Psychological – such as long hours, inadequate breaks, stress
    • Ergonomic – such as poor seating/standing routines, lifting
  2. Decide who might be at risk
    • Colleagues, volunteer, helpers
    • Contractors, vendors
    • Young and inexperienced people
    • New and expectant mothers
    • Staff or visitors with disabilities
    • Lone workers or helpers
  3. Controlling the risks – do existing precautions:
    • Meet legal requirements?
    • Comply with known event standards?
    • Represent good practice?
    • Reduce risks as far as is reasonably possible?
  4. Record the findings
    • Write down your findings, take photos or use a digital/tape recorder.
  5. Reviewing and revising
    Management regulations require risk assessments to be 'suitable and sufficient'. Yours can be as short and concise or as long and detailed as you wish. All plans change and when they do, you should just spare a few minutes to review your assessment for any changes.

Minimise the risk

The aim is to limit risks or eliminate hazards altogether.

  • Combat the risks at source 
  • Prevent access to the hazard 
  • Reorganising work to ensure adequate comfort breaks and reduce stress
  • Provide personal protective clothing where necessary 
  • Provide adequate welfare facilities such as washing, toilets and a crèche

You may find it useful to review the examples offered by the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority.

Download a risk assessment template form >