If you’re running a society you have a legal duty of care to ensure the safety of its members and any other people who may be affected by its activities and events. A risk assessment is not just a box ticking exercise, it is a useful checklist of what might go wrong and how your society and committee can reduce the risk. In the event of an accident you will need to produce your risk assessment as part of proving the committee fulfilled their legal duty of care.
If you don’t complete a risk assessment for your event or follow your standard risk assessment you are exposing you and your members to serious dangers and consequences, which could result in criminal prosecution.
Our Tips for Assessing Risk
For every hazard, you need to ask yourself how severe it is and how likely it is to happen. Severity and likelihood are each given a value, which are multiplied together to give you the risk factor.
Take a look at the risk assessment template which is useful for deciding what numbers to assign severity and likelihood.
As the organisers of your society, it is your responsibility to make sure your events and activities are as safe as possible for your members and others. In order to manage the safety of your group, it is compulsory for every group to carry out a risk assessment.
- Hazards: This is the potential of a substance, activity or process to cause harm.
- Risk: This is the likelihood of the substance, activity or process to cause harm.
When to do a Risk Assessment
You’ll need to do a risk assessment for all of these situations:
- Identifying the hazards and risks involved in your group’s activity and taking action to reduce them.
- Educating your members (old and new) about these hazards and most importantly informing them how to reduce the risk of them happening. Make the document available to your members to read at any time to help guide them in carrying out the group's activity.
- Providing documented proof that you as the responsible individual(s) have considered the hazards and risks of your group’s activity on your members and others and have put in place the measures needed to be taken to reduce these risks.
- Remember, socials and trips held by groups must also be risk assessed - you have a responsibility for your members’ safety at these events too.
When you’ll need to do it:
Annual risk assessments
All societies should have an annual risk assessment, which covers their regular activities. Annual risk assessments should be checked, revised and signed annually at the point of committee handover. You should not undertake any activities with your group until this document and process has been completed and the Compliance & Digital Coordinator is happy for you to proceed. If this document has not been completed you may be withheld from running your activities.
Specific events/activities risk assessment
If your group choose to do a one-off event or activity which is not covered by your standard risk assessment, you should complete a separate specific risk assessment.