Don’t risk going without a risk assessment

A risk assessment is not something to worry about - the only worry is not having one. The Event Safety Advisors company explains...

Your key artists are booked, the site’s paid for and your event team’s working hard to create the ultimate experience. Just when you think you’ve finally finished organising your event, it happens: an email from your Local Authority pops up in your inbox inviting you to submit your Event Safety Management Plan and Risk Assessment. Uh oh.

As an event organiser, you have a legal obligation to make an assessment of the Health and Safety risks arising from your event, and document what you are planning to do to mitigate them. It sounds scary but it doesn’t have to be. After all, a risk assessment is a simple way for you to walk through the event on paper and keep track of your key planning decisions. You can then use your assessment to help communicate with the people you’re working with.

So, can you undertake the risk assessment yourself? Absolutely; there’s an endless amount of guidance available online, including some great resources on the HSE website (www.hse.gov.uk). These sites will help and guide you through the process, as will many local authorities that can provide step-by-step guides on how to complete a risk assessment and an Event Safety Management Plan.

As an employer, however, you must appoint a competent person with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage your Health and Safety. That might be you, one or more of your employees or someone from outside your business. You may even require extra assistance for larger or more complex events.

So where do you start? As you begin thinking through all of the things that could happen at your event, you might find it tricky to know what to put into your risk assessment. But don’t worry, it should only detail the significant risks which are reasonably foreseeable, not the insignificant ones.

Throughout the planning process of your event, you’ll be engaging with a number of contractors. A key part of your risk assessment is to identify the competence of these contractors and to ensure that they have been briefed appropriately. They are then required to provide you with a risk assessment for their involvement on your event.

You may find it easier to manage your event by splitting it into phases. A simple approach to this is to identify the build, event and de-rig phases. This is because the control measures implemented in each of these phases will differ, so it makes sense to keep them separate in the assessment.

You’ll find that your risk assessment will evolve through the planning process as your event develops and decisions are made. It should be a living document that is central to communicating your key decisions surrounding safety. It will help you, your employees and all those involved in your event. Soon enough, you’ll come to realise that a risk assessment is not something to worry about, the only worry is not having one.

Now you know exactly how to tackle health and safety at your event and how to compile your risk assessment. So when that email pops up, you’ll be ready.