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Risk assessment

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We recommend that you complete a written risk assessment for your event. This is compulsory if your event is held on Council land or requires a road closure, or if you employ more than five people. A Risk Assessment will help ensure that your event runs as smoothly and safely as possible. 

Step 1 - Identify the hazards

Plan your event on paper, listing the activities and equipment that will be involved. Then think about the hazards relating to each activity and piece of equipment. A hazard is something with the potential to cause significant harm, such as:

  • Any slipping, tripping or falling hazards
  • Hazards relating to fire risks or fire evacuation procedures
  • Any chemicals or other substances hazardous to health, e.g. dust or fumes
  • Moving parts of machinery
  • Any vehicles on site
  • Electrical safety, e.g. use of any portable electrical appliances
  • Manual handling activities
  • High noise levels
  • Poor lighting, heating or ventilation
  • Any possible risk from specific demonstrations or activities
  • Crowd intensity and pinch points

This list isn’t exhaustive, and you will need to identify any other hazards related to your event’s activities.

Step 2 – Decide if someone could be harmed and how

For each hazard you identify, list all the groups of people who may be affected. This might be:

  • Stewards
  • Employees
  • Volunteers
  • Contractors
  • Vendors, exhibitors and performers
  • Members of the public
  • Disabled people
  • Children and elderly people
  • Potential trespassers
  • Expectant mothers
  • Local residents

The following are examples of areas to consider:

  • Type of event
  • Potential major incidents
  • Site hazards including car parks
  • Types of attendees such as children, elderly persons and the disabled
  • Crowd control, capacity, access and egress and stewarding
  • Provision for the emergency services
  • Waste management
  • Provision of facilities
  • Fire, security and cash collection
  • Health and safety issues
  • Exhibitors and demonstrations
  • Amusements and attractions
  • Structures
  • Recycling

Step 3 - Work out the risks

The risk is the likelihood of someone being harmed by the hazard.  You need to evaluate your event’s risks and decide whether you have done enough to reduce the risks.

You should list the measures you have already taken to control the risks and decide whether you need to do anything else.

Take into account:

  • Any information, instruction and training regarding the event and the activities involved.
  • Any laws, codes of good practice and British Standards that apply to your event’s activities and equipment.
  • Whether or not your existing control measures have reduced the risk as far as is reasonably practicable.

Further action necessary to control the risk

Classify the risks into high, medium and low. These examples show the type of risk that belongs in each category:

High - An unsecured inflatable being used in bad weather conditions by young children

Medium - A display of animals in a roped off arena

Low - A mime artist performing amongst the crowd

For each risk consider whether or not it can be eliminated completely. If it can’t, then decide what you have to do to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.

You could:

  • Remove the hazard.
  • Prevent access to the hazard, e.g. by guarding dangerous parts of machinery
  • Find a substitute for the hazardous activity or equipment
  • Use personal protective equipment to reduce the risk – this should be a last resort

Step 4 - Record your findings

You should list your findings on a risk assessment form using the link above so that you have a record of all significant hazards, the nature and extent of the risks, and the action required to control them. Keep this for future reference.

Step 5 - Review and revise

Your risk assessments will need to be reviewed and updated if any of the risks change while you are planning the event.


If you identify any significant risks in your risk assessment, you must provide information to all those affected about the risk and the control measures to be put in place.

Remember: Obtain risk assessments from your vendors, performers, exhibitors etc. for their activities and equipment.

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