Making sure where we meet is safe is really important. We can’t be running activities somewhere if the location isn’t safe.
Naturally, we make the area safer. We check the loose fixings on the walls and we tidy up any glass we find lying in the grass area we plan to play a game on. We cannot make an area completely safe. There will always be an element of risk. This is not a bad thing. Without some element of risk, young people wouldn’t learn boundaries and how to stay safe in life.
Your location risk assessment should be an easy to read document that supports all individuals to understand the risks, and what mitigations are in place.
To help people follow the risk assessment, sometimes it is helpful to include a checklist. This checklist could be a quick list of things to check every time you use a particular outdoor area or a checklist of things to check once a month inside your hall.
When risk assessing a static location, it is recommended to break each risk assessment in to sections. For example, hallway, main hall, small hall, kitchen, etc. Using an extra column or a heading in your risk assessment will make this much easier.
If you are looking at an outside location, it may be beneficial to break down the areas and use a map of the area to make it clear what areas have been looked at. Here is an example:
It is important to make sure that you have considered all aspects of a location when risk assessing it. To help get you mind thinking it through, here is a few considerations…
When inside, think about:
- Think high and low. Whilst young people may not be able to reach the roof, or the lights, what would happen if they threw a ball and it hit the light?
- Are there areas that are out of bounds to young people unless supervised? Support your risk assessment with signage (note this in the RA. This is a mitigation).
- Could the floor be slippery if wet?
- Could someone be hurt carrying the tables around?
- Proper signage is a good way to convey your risk assessment without requiring people to read multiple pages of text.
When outside, think about:
- Are the public able to access the area whilst you are there?
- What facilities are available nearby?
- What are your ratios? This can be more than the recommended ratios if you think it is appropriate.
- Have you set clear boundaries of where the young people are allowed to go/ where is out of bounds? You could use rope or signs to mark this.
- You may want to have a designated area for storing kit or first aid point. If you are using a wide area, you may need a meeting point between activities.
- When you are marking locations, or particular risks, for example a bridge, you could use something like What3Words, google maps, or a grid reference (this will be dependant on your map skills and the map skills of your audience).