A guide FoR risk asseSsments.

When should my society do a risk assessment? 

You should do a risk assessment if your society does more than have a catchup, regular meet up, or pop down the pub. Please complete a form at least 1 week before your society event and send it to Christy.

If your society does something a little more active in your regular sessions, please complete a risk assessment form at the beginning of the year. For example, Pole Dance Society run weekly sessions to teach students how to pole dance. There’s a risk that someone may fall and hurt themselves or have an allergic reaction to the equipment used. 

If your society is planning on doing something a bit different or more active as a one-off session, you’ll need to do a risk assessment for that session. For example, Christian Union usually host virtual meetups where they come together to discuss their religion and have Bible Study. To welcome students back to campus after Christmas, they want to hand out free tea and coffee to passing students. This is different to their usual sessions so they would need to complete a risk assessment. There’s a risk that someone may spill a hot drink on themselves or a student has allergies to whatever they’re serving etc. 

We mainly think of risk assessments covering physical risk, but it also covers reputational risk too. This might include publishing a newsletter, making a podcast etc. The risk here is that someone may say something damaging about the Student Union, the University or others. If the allegation is really serious and defamatory, you could get in a lot of trouble.

Photography Society on a trip to the National Museum of Scotland.

How do I fill in A RISK ASSESSMENT? 

This is the standard risk assessment document. Please complete the form, thinking about the things below. Once you've filled it in, send it back to Christy.

We've made a template form which might help too. Here it is.

When completing the form, here’s what you need to think about: 

  • Remind students they must not attend if they’re experiencing any of the COVID symptoms – high temperature, new or continuous cough, loss of taste or smell 
  • Make sure you are aware of current government guidelines

What are the hazards? 

What things could cause a problem / risk / hazard? This can be things like slips and trips, back injury, equipment / electrical failure, risk of fire, crowding, reputational damage, financial implications etc. 

Who might be harmed? 

This could be committee members, society members, the public, University staff. Each risk might have several groups of people. 

Control Measures 

What should be done to minimise the risk?  

For example, preventing slips / trips / falls, you would ensure that only competent people set up the venue. There will be no trailing cables, the venue will be kept clear and tidy of debris, only people trained in using ladders will work at height etc. 

For reducing the risk of fire, there will be no naked flames, venue decoration will all be flame retardant, there is an evacuation plan in place for the venue etc. 

Likelihood of hazard occurring (L) 

Score 1 to 4 of the likelihood of the risk occurring, where 1 is Unlikely, 2 is Possible, 3 is Likely and 4 is Certain 

Severity of hazard / risk (S) 

Score 1 to 4 on the severity if this hazard / risk occurs, where 1 is Insignificant / No Injury, 2 is Minor Injury, 3 is Moderate Injury and 4 is Majoy Injury / Fatality 

Total Risk Score (R) 

Multiply the Likelihood by the Severity to create a total score. Scores of 1-3 are Low Risk, 4-10 is moderate risk (requires further actions to be taken to minimise either the likelihood or severity) and 11-16 is High Risk (think carefully about whether the event / activity should be going ahead if you have a risk this high). 

Additional Control Measures 

These are the things that either need to be done before your event / activity begins, or will require monitoring during your event. 

For example preventing trips / slips and falls you will check the venue before letting your members in to make sure there are no loose cables lying on the floor, there is no litter, equipment has been installed safely and securely, a minimum of 2 people assigned to carry anything heavy. Does your team who will be setting up require manual handling training prior to the activity? Committee members are briefed to pick up litter during the event if any is dropped on the floor etc. If serving refreshments, make sure this is in an area away from heavy traffic of people in case anything spills, and you will have the necessary equipment to clean up spillages quickly. 

For minimising the risk of fire, you will check the venue has the necessary fire extinguishers, fire doors are not blocked or locked, you will notify all attendees of the evacuation plan and assembly point if the fire alarm were to sound etc. 

These control measures can often start a checklist of things that must be ticked off before you let your members in. 

You should assign each task to a person so everyone knows who is responsible, and indicate when the task should be completed (1 week before, before the venue opens, continuously during the event etc).