Risk Assessments

Those running a society or committee have a duty of care in law to ensure the safety of its members and any other people who may be affected by its activities and events. Therefore, if you organise an activity for people, you need to take the necessary precautions to keep the activity safe. In the event of an accident, you will be held accountable and if it’s found that your event was not adequately risk assessed or the safety measures were not adhered to, you could face repercussions.  

This can be as simple as assessing a lecture theatre for slip, trip and fall hazards through to complex expeditions abroad where risks could be much greater and implications more serious.  

Think of a risk assessment as a checklist of how safe your activities are. You are, quite literally, assessing the risks. Below is a blank template that we will work through together. 


Download Risk Assessment Template.xlsx 

Page 1 – General Infromation

This is for the basic information about your event. This includes your society/sports team's name, the name of the person filling out the form, the date and the event information. Put as much information about the event as you can. 

  • If your risk assessment regards a range of dates, make sure all dates are covered, e.g., 1st June 2023 – 31st July 2024. 
  • Be specific--remember that your risk assessment will be scrutinised in the event of an accident, so ensure all information is correct. 
  • If you don’t have a room booked yet, what type of room it will be in(e.g. seminar room or lecture theatre*). 

* If you are put into a room with a setup which is different to what you have assessed, you may want to return to the risk assessment. 


Page 2 - Risk Assessment

What are the Hazards and how could they cause harm? 

You can break this down into three parts:  

  1. Hazard – Something that if interacted with might cause an accident.  
  2. Hazardous Event – Something or someone dangerously interacting with a hazard.  
  3. Consequence – Outcome of the interaction, such as an injury or damage to property. Be specific about what harm is caused (such as burns, musculoskeletal injuries or electrocution).  

For example:  

  1. Hazard: Cup of Tea 
  2. Hazardous Event: Knocking over or cup of tea 
  3. Consequence: Burns  


Who may be at risk? 

This will likely be one or more of the following groups of people: society members, students, members of the public or staff members. 

Other groups may include children, pregnant people, people with disabilities, elderly people, contractors (who are not employed by SOAS, such as caterers), etc.  


Existing Control Measures 

These are preexisting measures that reduce the risk of a hazardous event happening. These control measures should already exist at the time of writing the risk assessment. This section may also be blank if there are no preexisting measures at the time of writing. 


Current Risk Level S x L= R  

S stands for Severity and L stands for Likelihood. Times them together to get the Risk Rating. 

To assess this, you will need to look at the third page of the template and make an informed decision yourself.  

Base the severity off the consequence and the likelihood off the hazardous event (i.e. how likely is the hazardous event and how severe would the consequences be?). 

If you enter in the ‘Severity’ and the ‘Likelihood’, it will automatically calculate the Risk for you on the sheet. 

If the risk is over 9 you will need to ensure that the control measures will reduce this down to a ‘moderate’ level.  


What Additional Control Measures are required? 

It is okay that not all control measures are in place at the time of writing the risk assessment. As such, this section is for you to write what new measures will be enacted. If there are no ‘existing control measures’ already, then this section needs to be filled in. However, if the existing control measures are satisfactory, then this can be blank. Most likely, you will have both Existing and Additional Control Measures. 


To be actioned by when and by whom? 

Who is going to ensure that these control measures are put in place? For example, will it be the president, sports coach or someone else? 

If a specific person is mentioned here, share with them the risk assessment and any tasks delegated to them. 


Completion date 

Use it as a deadline of when to action this by. You could also say that it is ‘ongoing’ or that it will be completed each week if it is something like checking whether equipment is safe to use.  


Final Risk level S x L = R 

As above, you are assessing the risk of the hazard from severity x likelihood, but this time your calculation is based off the Additional Control Measures. The Final Risk Rating should be lower than the Current Risk Rating. 

If you enter in the ‘Severity’ and the ‘Likelihood’, it will automatically calculate the Risk for you. 

Keep an electronic copy for easy updating and send your risk assessment through to st104@soas.ac.uk who will let you know if amendments are needed. 

Don’t get bogged down in minor details but do think about the main risks posed. 

Do your risk assessment as a group, maybe in a committee meeting. 

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