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Risk & Safeguarding

Managing risk at your events and activities

When planning events and activities, it's really important for Clubs & Societies to consider whether there any hazards which could lead to someone being hurt or becoming ill. 


You should take time to identify these hazards, then judge how much of a risk they pose. Then, you can decide what reasonably practical steps you can take to minimise these risks. The Safety at Events page and the Event Safety Checklist will help you with this.


You do this by completing a form called a Risk Assessment and submitting it to the Clubs and Societies team via email with at least three full working days' notice. We'll help you to finalise the document and give you helpful feedback on safety at your activity. Once the Risk Assessment is finalised, you need to ensure that everyone involved in running the activity has read it and has agreed to follow what it says.

If we have serious concerns about safety or the standard of your risk assessment, we may cancel your activity. You can help to avoid this happening by making sure to send us through your draft risk assessment as soon as possible.

If any of your events or activities will involve children (anyone aged under 18) or at risk adults, you must take extra care and follow our guidance on Safeguarding very carefully.

Sporting Clubs are also required to complete a Sporting Risk Assessment every year by 30 September. This is an overall risk assessment which covers the sport itself. The SU team will help you to finalise this document.

Identifying potential hazards

Some hazards are fairly obvious and should always be considered, e.g. fire, electricity, slips, trips and falls. Others can be harder to identify, especially if you're very familiar with your activity and take certain elements of it for granted. To help you identify potential hazards, you can start by going though our handy checklist:

  • Access and egress 

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Animals

  • Asbestos

  • At risk individuals (e.g. pregnant people, people with disabilities)

  • Audience control

  • Compressed gas / cryogenics 

  • Confined spaces

  • Construction work

  • Contact sports / physically intense activity

  • Dehydration

  • Display screen equipment

  • Diversity of languages / language barriers

  • Electricity (inc. portable appliances)

  • Exhaustion

  • Falling objects

  • Fire

  • Flammable materials

  • Food hygiene

  • Hand tools

  • Heights (inc. ladders, stages, scaffolding)

  • Hot liquids / water / oils

  • Hot surfaces

  • Lifting equipment

  • Lighting equipment

  • Lone working

  • Lost individuals

  • Machinery

  • Manual handling 

  • Noise exposure

  • Phobias

  • Presence of children (anyone aged under 18)

  • Pressure systems

  • Protesters

  • Provocative or politically sensitive content

  • Radiation / radioactive material

  • Slipping, tripping, and falling

  • Storage (e.g. racks, shelves, cabinets)

  • Stress

  • Substances hazardous to health (CoSHH

  • Sunburn

  • Temperature

  • Time of activity (e.g. daytime, nighttime, antisocial hours)

  • Unauthorised attendees ("gatecrashers")

  • Unfamiliarity with the activity

  • Vehicle / boat / car handling

  • Violence and threatening behaviour

  • Water environment (e.g. surfing, watersports, swimming)

  • Weather 

  • Working environment

There might be other hazards which are specific to your event / activity. You can add any other hazards into the blank boxes on the Risk Assessment form.

Managing risks associated with hazards

Once you've identified the potential hazards of your event / activity, you need to think about what (if anything) you can do to minimise the chances of someone being hurt or made ill because of them. You enter these on your Risk Assessment as Control Measures under Step 2.

Have a look at these examples below:

Example 1

Activity: Dance performance on Whitla Hall stage

Hazard: Slipping, tripping, and falling

Control Measures: All dancers will be instructed to wear suitable footwear during the performance. The edge of the stage will be clearly marked and visible throughout the performance. All dancers will be given ample time to rehearse on the stage and get familiar with the dimensions of the space.

Example 2

Activity: Society sightseeing day in Dublin

Hazard: Lost individuals

Control Measures: Trip organisers will have access to all attendees' mobile phone numbers and emergency contact details throughout the trip. All attendees will be briefed on the location and provided with directions to a meet-up point in case they get lost. Trip organisers will carry out head-counts before leaving each location to ensure that all attendees are present and accounted for.

Example 3

Activity: Hike on Cave Hill

Hazard: Weather

Control Measure: Society committee will check the weather forecast before setting out to assess whether the conditions are favourable. All attendees will be required to wear suitable footwear and outerwear to remain dry and warm throughout the activity. If it is sunny, attendees should wear sunscreen.

The next step is to make a judgement on how likely a risk is, and how severe its impact would be. This produces a numerical score which gives us an idea of whether this a low, medium, high, or very high risk.


1 - Very Minor

2 - Minor

3 - Significant

4 - Major

multiplied by


1 - Unlikely

2 - Possible

3 - Likely

4 - Very Likely


Risk Level

1-2 - Low

3-6 - Medium

8-9 - High

12-16 - Very High

Submitting your Risk Assessment

In order to submit your Risk Assessment, make sure that each Control Measure has an accountable person and that the bottom of the form has been signed by at least one executive committee member from your Club / Society. You should also make sure that all members who will be involved in the event / activity have read and understood the Risk Assessment.

You should consider whether any additional insurance cover is required for the activity. Remember that Queen's does not offer personal injury cover.

When it's complete, send your Risk Assessment to the team on or We'll then review the draft and come back to you with any appropriate amendments or suggestions. We can also signpost you to other relevant services (e.g. the Fire Safety Managers on campus, or the Portering team).

Safeguarding Children and Adults At Risk

If your event or activity will involve any children or adults at risk, extra care must be taken.

A 'child' is defined by the Children's Act as meaning a person under the age of 18.

An 'adult at risk' is defined as a person aged 18 or over, whose exposure to harm, through abuse, exploitation or neglect may be increased by their:

  • Personal characteristics (including, but not limited to: age, disability, special education needs, illness, mental or physical frailty or impairment).

  • Life circumstances (including, but not limited to: isolation, socio-economic factors and environmental living conditions).

The University interacts and works with children and adults at risk in a wide range of ways, including through Clubs and Societies. The University aims to provide a welcoming, stimulating, informative, educational, fun and safe environment which is underpinned by the University's core values. In all interactions with children and adults at risk, the University recognises that the welfare of those we engage with is paramount.

The Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk Policy and the Code of Behaviour (Children and Adults at Risk) set out the measures the University takes to promote the welfare of children and adults at risk and prevent and protect them from harm.

So what does this mean for Clubs and Societies?

If you have any plans to carry out activity involving children or adults at risk, you must do the following:

  1. Email or to set up a meeting with the team to discuss the activity.

  2. Carefully read through the University's Policy, the Code of Behaviour (Children and Adults at Risk), and the Safeguarding Risk Assessment.

  3. Work with the Clubs and Societies team to develop plans for the activity and to finalise the appropriate risk assessment.

You cannot undertake any activity involving children or adults at risk if you haven't completed the steps above. You should allow plenty of time to get these preparations in place, and give the Clubs and Societies team ample notice so that they can assist.

If you have any questions regarding safeguarding, please contact the Clubs and Societies team or have a look here for more information on the University's policy and responsibilities.

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