Risk Assessment Quick Guide

Risk Assessment Quick Guide

As well as assessing the premises for the risks that they may pose to participants, all leaders of groups should assess the risks involved in the programme that they are planning.

What is Risk Assessment?

Risk Assessment means looking at what could go wrong and deciding on ways to prevent or minimise that risk. There are a number of ways to carry out risk assessments. The following is a basic, straightforward method recommended by the Health and Safety Executive. This method is dependent on identifying potential ‘hazards’ and then assessing the ‘risk’ that those hazards could pose. A hazard is anything that could cause harm. The risk is the likelihood (whether high or low) that someone will be harmed by the hazard.

Step 1: Identify the hazards

Walk around the venue, think through your programme and think about the individual participants you are working with (taking into account age, specific needs, whether physical, emotional or behavioural etc). Ask yourself these questions:

  • What/who could reasonably be expected to cause harm?
  • What has been a hazard in the past? (looking back at accident records)

Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how

For each hazard think through who might be harmed:

  • groups of people (eg participants, leaders, parents)
  • individuals - (eg person with specific needs)

How might they be harmed? What type of injury?

Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions 

Consider the risks in a practical and rational manner asking yourself:

  • What can I do about the hazards?
  • Can I get rid of the hazards altogether?

If not, how can I control the risks so that harm is unlikely?

Step 4: Record your findings and implement them

Writing down your risk assessment and sharing them with your colleagues helps to ensure everyone understands the risks and subsequent controls. Risk Assessments can then be reviewed and reused at a later date.

Step 5: Review your Risk Assessment and update if necessary

When working with participants, the level of risk will vary depending upon the particular individuals you are working with, and the gifts and abilities of your workers. Thus risk assessments should be reviewed when necessary.


General Risk Assessments and Specific Risk Assessments

Your written procedures should include a clear indication about:

General risk assessments - Should these be ‘termly’ or ‘quarterly’? (set a frequency that is appropriate for the way in which the group runs)

Special risk assessments - Whenever an activity may involve greater risk or if an activity takes place away from the normal venue


Who is responsible for carrying out the Risk Assessment?

Usually, this is the leader of the session, but you may also have people within your organisation that takes responsibility for this task.  Ensure that whoever is it has the knowledge and capacity to fulfil the task effectively.  Identify clearly for each group who will be responsible for conducting the risk assessment and give them the tools they need.

What record should be kept of the Risk Assessment?

Once the Risk Assessment is created, it will need to be shared and stored.  Think about your organisation, the people that deliver services and activities and who need to see the document.  Also, think about where they are kept for easy access and how should these be stored?

Resource Category: 
Safeguarding and Risk

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