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Festivals Toolkit: Health & Safety: Risk Assessment & Management

Risk assessment and management are principally concerned with health and safety issues related to the organisation of your festival/event, but also concerned with strategic management issues.

A full explanation of how to conduct risk assessment/management is available from various sites including Business Link from which some of the following notes are adapted.

Risk assessment and management should form a part of your overall Event Plan (see section on Event Management), and involve the following process or stages:

  1. Designate someone in the team to have specific responsibility for Health & Safety
  2. Identify and prioritise your potential risks
  3. Assess the likelihood of an event occurring (scale of 1 to 5)
  4. Understand how you will respond to the event
  5. Devise and implement systems for dealing with the event and its consequences
  6. Monitor the effectiveness of your control/response systems i.e. your risk assessment/management process
  7. Record your results

This encourages you to take a preventative approach and be proactive rather than just dealing with consequences. It is in effect an essential aspect of your long term strategic management which brings the following additional benefits:

  • It improves your decision-making, planning and prioritisation
  • Helps you to allocate capital and resources more efficiently
  • Allows you to anticipate what may go wrong, minimising the amount of fire-fighting you have to do or, in a worst-case scenario, preventing a disaster or serious financial loss
  • Significantly improves the probability that you will deliver your festival on time and to budget

The Health and Safety Exeuctive's Event Safety Guide is a useful tool.

If you do not have a Health & Safety plan, the site has a leaflet which covers:

  • Health & Safety Policy statement
  • Responsibilities
  • Health and Safety Risks
  • Consultation with employees
  • Safe plant & equipment
  • Safe handling & use of substances
  • Information, instruction and supervision
  • Competency for tasks & training
  • Accidents, first aid etc.
  • Monitoring
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Some key areas of risks
  • Getting more information

Further reading:

  • NCVO: What is risk management?
  • VAN briefing note 67, Risk assessment for event organisers - this document can be downloaded from the Related Documents section on this page.
  • Zurich Municipal publication: The local authority guide for the Management of Safety at Events, includes the following guidance sheets about Health & Safety issues:
  • Event Guidance Notes (contains comprehensive information with regard to pre-planning, organising the event, final preparations and post-event). Available from the Related Documents section of this page.
  • Sample Accident Report Form. Available from the Related Documents section of this page.
  • Event Risk Assessment Guidance Note and Form (PDF format). Available from the Related Documents section of this page.
  • Safety Inspection Checklist. Available from the Related Documents section of this page.

Case study
National Council for Voluntary Organisations: Implementing Risk Management 

Related documents

The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)

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