A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, in your club, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. Workers and others have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures.
In order to create a safe environment, a club must carry out regular risk assessments. A risk assessment is a formal and recorded process to weigh up the suitability and safety of any activity by identifying the hazards that could potentially cause harm and taking the appropriate precautions or actions required to prevent harm or injury.
A risk assessment enables a club to:
- Identify an unsafe condition
- Decide what corrective action is required
- Determine who is responsible for correcting it
- Follow up to ensure that it was corrected properly
The frequency of assessment will be determined by a number of factors, such as the nature of the group; experience of staff; location or weather. Therefore risk assessments should be a regular process and not a one-off exercise.
The risk assessment should be undertaken by a competent person, although you do not have to be a health and safety expert. Ask other club members or committee members what they think as they may have noticed things which are not immediately obvious.
Risk assessment process
The following is a suggested process intended as a guide to undertaking a risk assessment:
- Make an inventory of club activities and tasks.
- Identify the hazards for each of these activities – on and off site – and decide if the hazards are minor or significant.
- Evaluate the risks and decide whether the existing precautions are adequate or whether more should be done.
- Decide if the risk is acceptable and prioritise the significant hazards - identify whether the risk is high, medium or low by deciding which could result in serious harm or affect several people.
- Select method of control – check that all reasonable precautions have been taken to reduce the risk and avoid injury, however be aware that even after all precautions have been taken, some risk usually remains.
- Record the findings – keep the written record for future reference, it can help if you become involved in any action for civil liability. It can also remind you to keep an eye on particular hazards and precautions.
- Implement measures to reduce the risk.
- Monitor – ensure that the standards are maintained.
- Regularly review – it is good practice to review your assessment to make sure that the precautions are still working effectively.
Risk Assessment Resources
The government’s Health and Safety Executive has a useful risk assessments webpage and there is a downloadable Risk Assessment Template (PDF 52kB).
Also, to help clubs with risk assessment decisions, there is a Risk Probability Matrix (PDF 13kB).