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Risk Assessments for BKAs

Are risk assessments needed?

If you are involved in the running of a BKA you will need to consider the need for risk assessments. It is easy to treat them as an unnecessary part of modern life, but it is not something that should be ignored, as there could be potential problems for the officers if there was an incident and no risk assessment is in place. In some instances there may be a requirement for risk assessments - it may be a condition of your insurance and that should be checked, or you may wish to have presence at an outside event and that is a booking condition.

It is understandable there may be a reluctance to deal with the issue, especially as many people may not have been involved in the writing of a risk assessment, but probably every work situation will have one in place, so they are an everyday occurrence.

It may be appropriate for one person to have responsibility for the writing and maintaining of risk assessments. It would make sense for the whole committee to agree, with a regular review. This is needed because of changing situations, and in a BKA this can happen quite often. The review period should be written in and annually sounds reasonable. How about the first committee meeting after the AGM?

Risk assessments are quite easy to carry out, but in my opinion they should be seen as specific to each individual BKA, not something you can get off the shelf for you to fill in the blanks. You need to evaluate the task and assess the risks that you consider may be present. There is a modern culture of simply pushing something down the line so someone else can deal with it, but this attitude is not appropriate in the case of a BKA.

Help and guidance is available and although it exists mainly for the working environment, there is some very useful information on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website. Press the button on the top left.

I quote from the HSE website:-

"There is no set way of undertaking a risk assessment but the simplest and most straightforward way is to consider the five steps in our leaflet.

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on precaution
  4. Record your findings and implement them
  5. Review your assessment and update if necessary

If you are new to a committee, I suggest you ask to see the risk assessments soon after being appointed.

Roger Patterson.