Risk management planning for events and festivals

The importance of a risk management plan

A risk management plan is an essential aspect of planning any event.

A risk management plan identifies all the potential risks that may arise from holding an event and then lists the steps event organisers will take to reduce or mitigate identified risks.

A risk can mean many things. For community events in Merri-bek the main risks to consider are anything that could:

  • cause harm to another person
  • cause damage to equipment, infrastructure or the event site, or 
  • harm the future of the event organising committee and event itself.

Of course many risks are out of the event organiser's control. In this case it is important that the risk management plan details who is responsible for coordinating the safety of every person should something that is out of the control of the event organiser occur.

First steps in assessing risks

A risk assessment should consider

  • existing risks of the site
  • risks the event creates, and
  • external risks that the event organiser has little control over but may need to be managed at the event.

There are some questions an event organiser should ask themself when assessing risks of an event. This is be no means exhaustive however we hope it helps you get started.

A risk assessment of the event site

  • Will there be moving vehicles near the event site and could this pose a risk to pedestrians?
  • Is there anything on the site that could become dangerous if there is inclemant weather?
  • Is there a body of water on or near the event site?

A risk assessment of the event and all proposed activities

  • Will there be a jumping castle or carnival rides at your event and how will the safety of event guests be ensured when on or near rides?
  • Is there infrastructure being brought onto the event site? Who will ensure it is safely secured?
  • Are you bringing vehicles on site and if so how will you manage the safety of people who are setting up near vehicles?

A risk assessment of all external risks

  • In the event that an evacuation of the event site is required who is responsible for ensuring all people are calmly and safely moved?
  • Are the likely guests at your event at a higher risk of requiring emergency services? If so have you advised local emergency services.

Council's Cultural Events Officer can offer support in considering all potential risks and will review your risk management plan before your event permit is approved.

A complete risk management process before the event can include

  • The initial risk assessment
  • The developed Risk Control Plan
  • An Emergency Management Plan
  • Traffic Management Plan – where applicable
  • Waste Management Plan – where applicable
  • Site safety induction checklists – for staff working on the event or site

It is important to remember that every event is different and has different resources available.

The most important part of creating a risk management plan is that you, the event organiser, can reduce possible risks as much as possible and have thought about what you would need to do in the event of an emergency during your event.