Why undertake an event risk assessment / risk management plan?

Event managers, are required, by law, to undertake a risk management, or risk assessment, plan for all their events. Otherwise if anything was to go seriously wrong, there would be no defence in a court of law for what would be deemed to be legal non-compliance.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines risk management as:

“The eradication or minimisation of the adverse affects of risks to which an organisation (or participants at an event) is exposed”.

Where        risk    =    severity of harm    x      likelihood of occurrence

Harm isn’t just physical harm to a person. Risk management expands on the requirements for assessing the health, safety & welfare risks and identifies not only the risks to people, but can also address all other risks that could affect the success of an event such as :

Professional risks                                 Policy and legal risks
Financial risks                                         Physical risks
Contractual risks                                  Reputation risks
Technical risks                                        Environmental risks
Competitive risks                                 Customer risks
Operational risks

Identifying the risk of harm
  • hazard is anything that may cause harm. Physically it could be such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, etc. It can also be something like lack of knowledge regarding a service or topic relating to your event, or another event happening on the same day that may jeopardise your attendance levels.
  • the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody or something could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.
Undertaking a risk assessment

There’s no right or wrong way to produce a risk assessment but the law does dictate that you must produce one.
There is no generic format that applies to all events and group activities but once you have produced one, you will find that much of the content can be transferred and modified to future risk assessments you are required to undertake.
They can, therefore, be quite subjective in their nature.
Several iterations may be produced to ensure all risks are assessed and catered for before, during and after the event, and so should be numbered and dated carefully.

What should an event risk assessment include?

Your risk assessment should note all the following details:

  • an overview of the event, including the date, venue, a brief description
  • the date of the first risk assessment and who has carried it out
  • the date of the next review
  • each risk should be identified and described
  • the consequence of each identified risk should be described
  • a numerical risk factor should be assigned to each risk/hazard
  • details of the actions to be taken to counteract each risk should be listed with named people responsible for the actions
  • there should be an emergency evacuation plan (most venues have their own procedures which you should familiarise yourself with)
  • details of how to deal with suspicious packages
  • the date each action should be completed or reviewed
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