Risk assessments are the simplest and most effective way for organisations of all sizes to control and mitigate obvious dangers. However, too often they are treated as a box-ticking exercise.
Common misconceptions – for example, that risk assessments are a time-consuming chore, or that they only need to be completed once a year – can limit their effectiveness. In this article, we consider the key elements of building a risk assessment.
What are risk assessments for and what should they cover?
Risk assessments are a simple way of identifying potential hazards that could put individuals and property at risk. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach – they should be tailored to what your club does and the particular risks you could face.
However, every risk assessment should:
•Identify potential hazards
•Identify who or what could be most at risk from these hazards
•List measures being taken to address hazards and identify any additional action needed
•Allocate responsibility for risk improvement actions, with clear timescales
You should also review your risk assessment processes following any serious incident, such as a fire, flood or safeguarding incident.
How detailed should risk assessments be?
A risk assessment does not always have to be a lengthy document. The important thing is to have a straightforward system to identify and prioritise risks, and to record any actions taken to mitigate them.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides a number of useful resources and tools that can help clubs develop robust risk assessments.
Who should carry out risk assessments?
You should appoint a ‘competent person’ to oversee the process. A competent person is defined by the HSE as “someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage health and safety.”
This does not necessarily mean somebody who has undergone specialist training or received any formal qualifications in health and safety. The important thing is that whoever you entrust to carry out your risk assessments is aware of best practice and can commit to overseeing the process.
How should risk assessments be recorded?
A logbook is a simple way to keep a record of your risk assessments and any actions taken to mitigate risks.
Logbooks should include space to record the dates and times of assessments or training, and brief details of what was covered. If any potential hazards are identified, it is important to note any action taken to reduce or eliminate the risk.
Keeping it simple
Building a risk assessment does not have to be a complicated or time-consuming process.
You can create specific risk assessments that identify and address the hazards particular to your club. By regularly reviewing these documents as your circumstances change, you could go a long way to mitigating some of the biggest risks your club could face.
The HSE provides a straightforward risk assessment template that you can tailor to your club’s particular needs.
Source: Zurich Municipal