Everyone performs risk assessments daily without even thinking about it. When you cross the road, you look both ways before you cross the street to prevent you from being hit by a car, thereby assessing the risks involved. This is the same with your events. Identify what could cause harm, identify how to prevent this from happening and then act upon it. We have to do risk assessments for events by law. Completing, reading and adhering to a risk assessment is what covers your student group on insurance and proves that you have shown due diligence in protecting the attendees at your event.
Difference between Hazard and Risk
- A hazard is something that can cause harm
- A risk is the chance, high or low, that any hazard will cause somebody harm
So, when completing your risk assessment you are looking to identify the hazards and assess the risks posed. If this risk is not acceptable, then you need to identify ways to manage this risk to reduce it to a level which can be considered acceptable i.e. low.
Writing your Risk Assessment
We provide you with a basic template to help you assess the risk of the hazards your events pose.
All events must be covered by a risk assessment unless your event falls under one of the following:
- Students using their own cars
- Meetings on campus (without food or drink)
- Forum stalls (without food or drink)
- Social events entirely in the Ram, Lemon Grove or Grove Diner, where the venue provides food and drink
- Social events taking place in one venue only, where the venue provides the food and drink and closes by 10:30pm
The basic template consists of the following:
- A short description of the event
- Idenfication of the hazards (e.g. fire, injury, food allergies)
- Identify who is at risk for each hazard (attendees, general public, committee ...)
- The existing control measures in place for each hazard
- A risk matrix, where you need to identify the likelihood and severity and multiply these to get the risk rating
- The likelihood is the possibility of the hazard happening
- The severity is the impact the hazard would have if it occurred
- The risk rating is likelihood x severity
- For the risk to be acceptable, the risk rating should be green or the low yellows.
- Any extra measures that are required
- Confirming whether the risk has been adequately controlled
The template lays this out for you and for each event you'll need to identify all the hazards. Risk assessments can be either included in your annual risk assessment or submitted in the Activity Risk form on the Activity system for every event you hold.
To see our templates and example risk assessments click here
What should I include?
Whilst in the planning stages of your event it is important to think about what you need to do to keep your event safe. This is especially important if those safety precautions will impact upon your budget.
As a starting point you may want to consider:
- Will the event involve large amounts of alcohol? (Security and First Aid)
- Will the event take place in a licensed premise where security is a condition of the license?
- Does the event have the public present, including children? (First Aid)
- Is the event featuring any contentious speakers? (Security)
- Are you expecting lots of people at an event with multiple areas? (Marshals)
Other core elements to consider are:
- Will the event involve alcohol?
- Will my society be providing or selling food?
- Will it involve walking between venues?
- Will there be a risk of trips and falls?
- Will it involve some form of transport?
- Will it involve overnight accommodation?
- Will there be any external speakers?
- Have you considered the venue? What fire precautions do they have in place?
- Will there be manual handling?
- Will a power source be used?
- Will there be a theme?
- Is there a financial risk?
Annual Risk Assessment
From Summer 2019, we've introduced the option for societies and student groups to complete an annual risk assessment to cover the events they anticipate to hold over the year. The annual risk assessment needs to be submitted to the Activities team for approval before it can be used for events. This means rather than submitting an individual risk assessment for each of your events via the activity system, you can add a note that it's covered by the annual risk assessment reducing the time it takes for you to submit your events.
For the annual risk assessment template click here and for the guidance document for completing this see here.
For guidance on the event submission process see here.
As a society/student group you are responsible for your group's money and are expected to spend it responsibly, otherwise this poses a large financial risk. When running your events you need to consider whether your event poses any financial risk for your society. For more information on financial risk see here
Another element important to consider is reputational risk, for your society, for the Students' Guild and the University. When planning your events it's vital to consider how to manage reputational risk and remember that you are representing more than just your society. For guidance on what to consider see here.