The process of risk assessment underpins all current Health & Safety legislation.
It no longer applies only to specific risks such as noise or hazardous substances but sporting
& leisure activities.
It is a process of determining what hazards exist
The likelihood of harm occurring
The need for appropriate control measure
The following guidance has therefore been produced to give practical advice on the
implementation of the risk assessment process
The Risk Assessment Process
There is no precise process defined in the regulations or guidance for carrying out risk
assessments, it is left to the individual volunteer to determine the method which best suits the
activity. In the advisory leaflet “5 steps to risk assessment”, the HSE promotes the use of the
“The 5 Step approach”
What is a Hazard What is a Risk
Hazard – is anything that can cause harm
Risk – is the likelihood of harm occurring?
5 Step Approach
Step 1: Look for hazards.
Step 2: Decide who might be harmed.
Step 3: Evaluate the risks & decide whether existing precautions are adequate or
whether more should be done
Step 4: Record your findings.
Step 5: Review the assessment & revise it as necessary
Appendix – Reg.Org.Guidelines
Step 1: Look for the Hazards
In the initial stage of the process the assessor would be expected to walk around the venue and
take a fresh look at what could reasonably be expected to cause harm. Effort should be
concentrated on hazards which could result in significant harm or may affect several people. All
hazards should be listed at this stage however.
When listing hazards it is useful to consult with other volunteers who may have noticed things
which are not immediately obvious.
In general terms however the following examples may prove useful:
Slips, Trips, fall, Inadequate planning, Weather conditions,
Worn or faulty equipment, Physical involvement, playing area pitch
Pulled muscles, Trees, Lightning
Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how
When considering who might be harmed there is no need to list individuals by name. It is more
appropriate to list groups of people taking part or who may be similarly affected by a particular
sport or leisure activity.
It is important to consider people who may not be taking part but at the event e.g. visitors &
spectators etc.
The following list may therefore prove useful at this stage:
Players, Officials, Spectators, Passing Public
Step 3: List existing controls
At this stage information should be provided on the steps that have already been taken to control
a particular risk.
It may be necessary to provide details of information, instruction or training provided in relation to
a “safe system”. In this respect reference may need to be made to written procedures and
operating manuals etc.
When considering the adequacy of existing control measures it is important to determine
They meet the standards set by a legal requirement.
They represent good practice.
They reduce the risk as far as is reasonably practicable.
The effectiveness or even lack of existing control measures will have a bearing on the calculation
of residual risk in Step 4.
Appendix – Reg.Org.Guidelines
Step 4: Calculate the Residual Risk
The Health and Safety Executive outline the following simple method of qualifying risk or Risk
The method involves making two judgements, one on the potential SEVERITY of any possible
injury and the other on the LIKELIHOOD of harm occurring.
Both judgements are on a scale of 1 to 3 as follows:
1 SLIGHT all injuries not defined as Major or Serious
2 SERIOUS injuries that are not major but are likely to prevent someone working normally for
more than 3 days.
3 MAJOR death or major injury e.g. fractures of a bone, amputation, serious damage to an eye
1 LOW unlikely to happen
2 MEDIUM could well happen
3 HIGH certain or near certain to happen
The risk rating is then calculated by multiplying the severity and likelihood figures.
The figure at which a “tolerable” level of risk is set is to some extent arbitrary.
Obviously the higher the risk rating the more significant the risk and the greater will be the need
to control that risk.
For assessment purposes
Calculate the residual risk taking the presence and effectiveness of existing measures into
account: Severity x Likelihood = Risk Rating
Risk ratings of 4 or more are considered significant and will demand action.
Risk ratings of 3 or below can normally be discounted, however consideration should be given to
reducing the risk to the lowest possible level, particularly if this can be achieved at little or no
Step 5: Determine Control Measures
The final stage of the process is the determination of appropriate control measures necessary to
eliminate or reduce a risk to an acceptable level.
Risk ratings of 4 or more will require some action to be taken in respect of additional control. The
higher the risk factor the greater is the priority for action.
Appendix – Reg.Org.Guidelines
When considering the effectiveness of control measures, the following principlesshould be
What action
1. Remove the Risk completely MOST EFFECTIVE
2. Try a less Risky option
3. Prevent access to the Hazard (e.g. by guarding)
4. Organise event to reduce exposure to the Hazard or Risk
5. Issue personal protective equipment LEAST EFFECTVE
Reference should be made to recognised good practice, HSE guidance and legal requirements
when determining whether a particular method of control is adequate.
Serious and Imminent Danger Monitoring and Review
As part of the risk assessment process, written procedures must be prepared to deal with
situations of serious and imminent danger.
In most instances this will relate to emergency procedures to be followed
It is essential that the effectiveness of control measures identified by the risk assessment process
is monitored.
What risk assessment works at one venue will need to be reviewed if the venue changes
Appendix – Reg.Org.Guidelines