In part one we talked about what risk assessments are and how they can make your life easier by keeping your event safe and you out of jail.
In part 2 we looked at how risk is reduced using the TOP (Technical, Organisational, Protective) method.
And part 3 explained the importance of the risk matrix.
Now in this last part we’ll put it all together.
Event risk assessment in 5 easy steps
Like I said there is no single „right“ way of doing a risk assessment and in my opinion, the simpler you make the process for yourself, the more you will use it and will be of value to you.
I like to do risk assessments in an excel spreadsheet, just because of the functionality you get in a spreadsheet. You can do it in a normal text based document. What’s important is that it’s easy for you.
Here are the 5 steps:
- Identify the hazard (what can happen)
- Who can be effected.
- Estimate the probability (how likely is it to happen) and the severity (how bad can someone get hurt) and multiply to get your risk level.
- Describe control measures (what you’ll do to reduce the amount of risk)
- Reevaluate your risk level to see if you’ve reduced risk to an acceptable level.
Let’s say we don’t know if the room capacity of a breakout room will be sufficient. More people might show up for a particular session that you or your client anticipated. You have identified the risk of having too many people in the room at the same time.
Now you need to define who or which group of people can be effected. This is important so we know who to inform or train and who to watch out for. In our case it’s the visitors and event staff.
Next you ask yourself, how likely (probable) is it to happen?
You give the probability a number from 1 to 5. 1 being highly unlikely and 5 being most likely. In our case I’d say a probability of 2.
You then give the severity a number from 1 to 5. 1 being a small bruise or cut and 5 being fatal or death. I would say the visitors could get badly hurt but no one will die. Say a severity level of 4.
For instance, there can be an emergency situation where the room has to be evacuated. This can be a fire, a bomb scare or an incident happening in the room itself.
The severity would be injuries by people being trampled on, shoved against objects or any other minor to major injuries. So we said 4.
The probability would be low, and we said 2.
Now you can just multiply both numbers with each other and, wallah! You have your level of risk. In our case it’s 8.
This is where the risk matrix comes in. You’ll find your risk level in it and know if it’s an acceptable risk or not. Our level of 8 is unacceptable as it’s in the orange range. We have to reduce it to at least yellow.
There’s an acronym you might have heard of called ALARP. This means As Low As Reasonably Possible. This means you don’t have to go overboard. All that is asked of you is to be reasonable.
So, we ask ourselves 2 questions:
Can we reduce the probability? Yes definitely!
Can we reduce the severity? Most likely not!
We know we can never reduce risk to 0 because that would mean not doing whatever was risky in the first place. So we have to get to a green or yellow rating.
Now you all you need to do is describe the control measures to reduce the risk to that acceptable level. You do this using the TOP method as described here.
First we try and find a technical solution. In this case there really isn’t one. We can’t automatically keep people safe.
So we move on to organisational solutions. And here we find a lot. In our case I would suggest moving to a larger room, setting up screens in another room or just limiting the amount of people entering the room by counting. You see, all of these require human interaction.
Is there a personal (PPE) solution? Not really. We can’t put everyone in fire and bomb proof suits can we?
After you’ve described the control measures, it’s time to reevaluate the risk level. So either you actually see an improvement to yellow or green, or you need to introduce more control measures.
When you’re done, your risk levels should not go above yellow.
It takes some time getting used to but I think if you follow my framework, you’ll easily get your risk assessment done in no time at all.
To give you a head start, here’s the excel template I use.