A Risk Assessment is a careful examination of how people may be harmed during the activities being planned. The assessment will help identify the likelihood of harm and whether the risk can be reduced to a reasonable level, through the introduction of Control Measures.
- Risk Assessments should be compiled with contributions from as many people concerned as practicable, including participants.
- Ideally, each Risk Assessment should be no longer than one side of A4
- Instructors should ensure, as far as is appropriate, that understanding of the Risk Assessments is shared across all members of the group
- Risk Assessments MUST be reviewed after any incident, and as a matter of routine on an annual basis
Hazard Anything with the potential to cause harm.
Risk The likelihood that someone may be harmed by the hazard
Impact The result if someone is harmed by the hazard
Significant Hazards Those hazards which may result in serious harm or affect several people.
Control Measures Arrangements in place to reduce / manage the risk or to reduce its impact
Preparing Risk Assessments
Focus on significant hazards & Level of Risk over which Instructors have control. Consider the Venue, the Activity, the nature of the Group (including leaders) in the Risk Assessment – “VAGRA”
Control Measures should be simple and easy to understand. Include reference to external guidance from providers / LA as part of Control Measures (CM’s), where relevant. Also, CM’s not included in the Generic Risk Assessment, briefings, actions by leaders and participants, qualifications / experience of supervisors. Include Additional CM’s if generic CM’s are insufficient, existing CM’s cannot be met or circumstances change
Severity & Probability Matrix
The table below indicates how the risk assessment form can be used to assist with your risk assessment. The assessment requires rating the risk before and after controls are in place. This will help identify the urgency of control measures, and whether, following the introduction of controls, the risk can be reduced sufficiently. The following matrix may help determine the risk rating.
| Severity >
(e.g. Superficial injury or temporary discomfort or distress)
(e.g. Sprains, minor fractures, ill health leading to disability)
(e.g. major fractures, amputations, fatality, life shortening illnesses)
|Highly unlikely||VERY LOW (VL)||LOW (L)||MEDIUM (M)|
|Unlikely||LOW (L)||MEDIUM (M)||HIGH (H)|
|Likely||MEDIUM (M)||HIGH (H)||VERY HIGH (VH)|
It is unlikely that all risks can be reduced to low levels. The following table will help determine action that needs to be taken.
|Risk Rating||Action required|
|Initial risk rating||Residual risk rating|
|Very High (VH)||Activity may only take place if good control measures can be implemented.||The activity MUST NOT take place.
You will need to identify further controls to reduce the risk rating.
|High (H)||Activity may only take place if good control measures can be implemented.||Seek further advice from your technical adviser|
|Medium (M)||If it is not possible to lower risk further, you will need to consider the risk against the benefit of carrying out the activity.||If it is not possible to lower risk further, you will need to consider the risk against the benefit of carrying out the activity.|
|Low (L) or Very Low (VL)||No further action required.||No further action required.|
All formal Risk Assessments are undertaken based on the knowledge that all staff have undergone a BTAC induction, and/or hold a National Governing Body qualification for that activity, and so will be carrying out an ongoing risk assessment process during their sessions, and taking appropriate action to minimise any risks encountered.
Principles of sensible risk management
Sensible risk management is about:
- Ensuring that staff, visitors and pupils are properly protected;
- Providing overall benefit to society by balancing benefits and risks with a focus on controlling real risks – either those which arise most often or those with the most serious consequences;
- Enabling innovation and learning, not stifling them;
- Ensuring that those who create risks manage them responsibly and understand that failure to manage serious risks responsibly is likely to lead to robust action;
- Enabling individuals to understand that as well as the right to protection, they also have to exercise responsibility.
Sensible risk management IS NOT about:
- Creating a totally risk free society
- Generating useless paperwork mountains
- Scaring people by exaggerating or publicising trivial risks
- Stopping important recreational and learning activities for individuals where the risks are managed
At the end of it all, the purpose is to demonstrate that all reasonable precautions have been taken to reduce foreseeable risks associated with the intended activity, by considering the control measures necessary to deal with the hazards involved.
Use of General Risk Assessments
General Risk Assessments highlight commonly identified hazards and control measures associated with general activities locations, or events. They need to be adapted to specific circumstances by identifying and adding further hazards/control measures relevant and appropriate to the activity, location and/or participants.
Index of Risk Assessments
The following Risk Assessment documents are currently available on this website.
- General Watersports RA
- Dinghy Sailing RA
- Canoeing RA
- Raft Building RA
- Powerboat Trips etc
- Environmental Activities General
- Pond Dipping
Other documents will be published as they are revised and signed off.