GBM is committed to ensuring that all activities offered to children or young people are provided within safe, secure and empowering environments. It realises the importance of maintaining safe practice in all it does and therefore believes that volunteers should take precautions to minimise or prevent harm.
Realising that risk assessment is a careful examination of what could cause harm to members, volunteers or others. GBM believes that:
- Each GBM team should conduct and record a risk assessment of activities in the premises used
- Additional risk assessments should be conducted when a new activity starts e.g. a new programme module, an end-of-term party or a fundraising event
- Additional risk assessments should be conducted when any off-site activity or hazardous activity is undertaken and a Hazardous Activity Form completed if necessary.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires that a formal ‘Risk Assessment’ should be carried out. The risk assessment should be a suitable and significant assessment of the risks to the health and safety of all persons involved directly in any activity.
- It’s a requirement to keep a brief, simple record of all risk assessments and GBM provides further guidance in the publications Residential Events Toolkit and Delivering an Evening’s Programme Toolkit which provide some generic risk assessments and templates to complete and both are available to download for free from the GB website.
- A ‘hazard’ is anything which would cause harm e.g. a departure/assembly point on a busy road, an overcrowded church hall or a slippery slope.
- A ‘risk’ is the chance, however small, that someone may be harmed by the hazard e.g. a child stepping from behind a vehicle into a busy road.
- The team leader’s role (and other volunteers) is to decide whether a hazard is significant and whether it’s covered by appropriate precautions in order to eliminate or minimise the risk.
- All volunteers should be involved in the assessment as it helps to raise awareness and ensures that everyone understands why things are being done a certain way.
- Keep the risk assessment simple and use common sense in thinking through the event/activity in a logical sequence to establish what each phase of the visit, journey or activity involves.
- Identify what might go wrong and who may be harmed or affected by the risk. Then think about what precautions should be taken.
- Keep the record indefinitely for future reference and to save time and effort if an activity is repeated, although risks will still need to be re-assessed – see the data protection policy section on Page 41.
- For each activity give consideration to supervision levels, roles and responsibilities (including training requirements, pastoral care, spiritual development, health and safety concerns, security, health and hygiene and travel safety).
- Complete any administrative procedures designed to safeguard your practice as detailed in the guidelines that follow.
- Risk assessments should be dated and kept as historical documents indefinitely as they are evidence that due care has been taken in running any activity
- Activities deemed hazardous need additional insurance and so a Hazardous Activity Form should be completed. This is free to download from the GB website.