Event Risk Assessment Guidance Document

These guidance notes will help you complete a Risk Assessment for the event you
propose to run.
You have a legal obligation to manage your event to ensure the health and safety of
people taking part in your event or helping to organise the event. Conducting a risk
assessment helps you to undertake this obligation, by assisting you to anticipate,
monitor and control potential risks.
It is entirely your responsibility to carry out the necessary risk assessments and put
in place measures to minimise risks identified that cover the specific circumstances
of the event you propose to run.
A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what at your proposed event
could cause harm to the people organising the event or those taking part. It allows
you to consider if you have taken enough precautions to keep everyone safe, or if
there are other things you should do to reduce the likelihood of anyone getting hurt
or becoming ill.
All event organisers need to submit a risk assessment form for the event they
propose to run on Waterways Ireland property before approval for your event will be
If the event is planned within 12 weeks of the date of your application, the risk
assessment must accompany the completed application form.
For larger events (500+ persons) and those considered high risk a more detailed
safety plan with emergency procedures will also be required.
There are a number of key elements to undertaking a risk assessment:
The first is to identify any potential hazards.
A hazard is anything which has the potential to cause harm (for example, food,
temporary electrical supplies, the use of high speed boats in a confined area, crowd
control, or very cold water for an event where participants may end up in the water).
Care should be taken to identify hazards relating to individual activities which may be
taking place as part of your overall event.
The second element to consider is to assess the risk of the hazard identified
happening. You should list existing control measures which are already in place to
reduce the risk. For example you may reduce the risk of food poisoning from food
sales by stall vendors who you have invited to your event by checking they are a
registered business with the local authority and have adequately trained staff, in
addition to checking they have appropriate third party liability insurance for serving
food at an event such as you propose.
For a youth fishing event an identified hazard could be injury from fish hooks with the
control measure being having a first aid box and first aider available or competent
adult to take a child for medical treatment depending on the numbers participating.
You need to consider have existing controls reduced the risk as far as is reasonably
practicable, is any training information or instruction required in respect of the event
or the activities involved. For example if you have multiply water sports taking place
is guidance given to rescue boat drivers regarding the locations for each activity to
ensure everyone’s safety?
The next step is to classify the risks identified:
 High risk: ie a long distance swim proposed in very cold open water
 Medium risk: ie a flat water canoe session in an enclosed area of water
 Low risk: ie a static exhibition of model boats
For each risk you should consider:
 Can it be eliminated, if not what needs to be completed to reduce the risk to
an acceptable level
 Removal of the risk, restricting access, implementing procedures to reduce
exposure to the hazard
 Find a substitute for the activity
The above list is only a guide and care is required to identify other measures.
Attached is a downloadable blank risk assessment form which you can use to record
significant hazards, the nature and extent of the risk happening and the actions you
are putting in place to reduce the risk.
Once you have completed a risk assessment it should be used by everyone involved
and retained as part of your health and safety planning and delivery measures.
The risk assessment will also require updating if you add new activities or the nature
of the activities planned changes prior to or during the event.
If an accident occurs you should record all incidents and notify your insurer and
Waterways Ireland as soon as possible