The One Key To Risk Assessments In The Event Industry

Risk. Risk. Risk.

Here’s the bottom line – if you’re going to run or be involved in events; EMBRACE THE RISK.

Embrace The Risk

Embrace The Risk

Oh. Did I mention you need to


Because you do.

That’s not the key I referred to in the title of the post, either – just for the record.

But we DO need to start there.

See that pic of me holding Sully over there? Well, for the purposes of this post Sully has been renamed RISK and look! I’m embracing him. Clever and visual, right?

Why do I have to embrace the risk?

Look at it this way – SOMEONE insures the Red Bull Cliff Diving and the X Fighters and Mixed Martial Arts and all sorts of other things that, by their very definition, are majorly risky and very likely to result in injury, or worse.

Do you think they get to do their risk assessments, running those events, where they ignore the obvious, like:

  • The cliff divers are jumping from cliffs. Which are made of rocks. They’re jumping towards rocks. From a height. We’ve to build a platform for them to jump from. They’re landing in water which is always dodgy. For loads of reasons.
  • The X Fighter riders will be flying through the air. On motorbikes. Sometimes sideways. Other times upside down. Other times letting go of the bike and grabbing it again to land. Hopefully.
  • The MMA fighters. They’ll be punching, kicking, choking, throwing, arms locking, leg locking and all sorts. That’s the kinda thing I’d call risky.

They don’t. They don’t get to ignore the risks.

Now, if you’re not on board with the whole EMBRACE THE RISK thing, you may as well head off now. I’m serious. Off you go. No hard feelings, and all, but good luck. Sound.

So, if you’re still here I’m going to go ahead and proceed on the assumption that you agree with embracing the risk. Thanks for that.

So here it is. . .

The one key to risk assessments in the events industry. . .

Oh. For the record, this applies to all industries but WE are talking about the Events industry, hence the title.

Now, back to the big reveal. . .

Here it is. . .


That’s the key. Actually, there’s probably a life lesson there too, in fairness.

Be honest when assessing the risks of your event.

Acknowledge them. Rate them. Do what you can to minimise them. That’s the process.

Be prepared to be honest with yourself if the risks CAN’T be minimised enough to make it safe. That happens.

With that said, I think the examples above show you that it CAN be done.

You’re only fooling yourself if you ignore stuff. You MAY be lucky that nothing goes wrong. You may be UNLUCKY and that thing you knew could be an issue, but ignored, may come back to bite you. You don’t have a leg to stand on if that happens.

Here’s a simple template for doing event risk assessments. There are loads of these out there. I like this one.

Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment

You can grab the Risk Assessment template here as a PDF if you like.

The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) in the UK have some good resources on Event Safety, including some on risk assessments in the event industry.

Just remember – there’s a lot more to doing it right than just the boxes and numbers on the RA. You need to actually ID the risks, find suitable ways to reduce them and then be honest again about whether they reduce them in reality.

People like us here in Cuckoo Events exist. We’re specialists in this field and can help / advise you.

Safety for events is not as scary a thing as you might think.

Have you any experience of doing risk assessments?

Any advice for the masses?

Featured image thanks to


  • May 9, 2013 at 19:03 // Reply

    I like the template. Very useful. Another thing to note is that a risk assessment is an ever changing document, it’s not done and then that’s it. Things change in the lead up to event, especially for me as a Theatre Production Manager rather than events, directors can come up with some weird and wacky notions (as do event organisers!). It’s one document that is always open on my laptop, right up to the day its due to the day the show opens.

    • Hi Tess. You’re right, of course. Risk assessments need to be ‘living documents’ as things change and develop. Otherwise they risk being a paper exercise.

  • Hi, interesting article Mark!

    We’ve recently created an online tool for contractors which let them create project specific risk assessments in minutes. We currently only allow for construction trades, but wondering if the events industry could be another area we could assist with?

    We are really looking for a way to help everyone stay compliant with their health and safety requirements in the most simplest and easiest way possible.

    Welcome your thoughts

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