All events must have an approved and up to date risk assessment that itemises all Health & Safety risks specific to the individual event and the actions/mitigations in place to minimise any impact of the risk.
The risk assessment is an important legal document that may be used in a court of law so should be completed/reviewed with this in mind. parkrun has Public Liability Insurance that covers all parkrun events globally, however, all parkrun events have a duty of care to ensure that all courses are as safe as possible by limiting risks, developing strategies to mitigate risks and by following parkrun procedures, (e.g the Cancellation Policy).
The risk assessment document covers risks events may face, but it isn’t a comprehensive list. Some risks on the generic template may not be relevant to the event so can be deleted if required.
Please note: this risk assessment template can be found here, with event teams responsible to select the correct territory specific template.
Country specific risks may also be relevant, for example, in Australia there may be a risk of snakes due to the local geography, however, you wouldn’t expect this to be a risk in Ireland.
New events must have a completed risk assessment with the event paperwork as part of the process for a start date to be confirmed and it is recommended this is done with the Event Ambassador to gain an understanding of the process.
Existing events should review their risk assessments as part of an ongoing process to take into account any new risks or the removal/reduction of existing risks. This can be done in conjunction with the Event Day Course Check before each event.
A formal review must be done at least once a year and reminders will be sent to events via email and when logging into WebFMS and/or EMS from 28 days before the current risk assessment expires.
If a risk assessment expires the event won’t have access to WebFMS or EMS and the event must be cancelled until it has been reviewed and approved via parkrun Event Support.
Due to parkrun events increasing in number globally the review should be submitted when the event team sees the first notification to ensure there are no unexpected delays which could hinder the event taking place.
When carrying out a risk assessment review please also refer to the parkrun Event Location and Course Design guidance in the Volunteer Hub.
Important Note Events without an up to date Risk Assessment will not be able to process their results until their Risk Assessment has been approved and updated (this includes test events) - please get in touch with Event Support if your event is in this situation.
Risk Assessment Document Explained
All Risk Assessments have four columns:
- Potential Impact
These are specific Health & Safety risks that an event faces as part of the weekly operating structure.
There are five sections: Weather; Course Obstacles; Other Event Risks; Participant Risks; Additional Risks
Consideration must always be taken for the points below but when creating and reviewing a risk assessment take into consideration that if the pre-event brief and/or first timers welcome mentions a specific risk then this, and the mitigation, must be included in the risk assessment, and vice versa:
- The event has an out and back course?
- Are participants told that they need to keep to one side?
- How will the turn-around point be clearly marked to avoid participants going too far?
- On a multi-lap course are there pressure points where participants will pass each other?
- Are there sufficient volunteers in the team to ensure a marshal is placed at turnaround points?
- Does the route cross over different terrains?
- Are participants told about specific points in the route to take extra care?
- Is there a marshal in place at certain points due to the terrain/pathway?
- Is the specific terrain also mentioned? (e.g. concrete pathway changing to a trail route).
- Does the course cross over bridges?
- Slippery surface?
- Keep to one side due to members of the public?
- Are marshals required in these areas?
- Does the route (including the start and finish areas) have any obstructions? On the pathways (bollards, gates, benches)
- Marshals or flags/cones/tape in place for participants to avoid them
- For example, do you need to inform participants to take care when leaving the funnel
- Does the path narrow at any point creating a bottleneck?
- Is this mentioned in the pre-event brief?
- Are there sections where it’s not suitable/safe for people to pass?
Likelihood & Potential Impact
The seriousness of each risk is graded under these two factors. We use a three point scale for both of these: High; Medium; Low.
- High - a risk that is likely to happen on a regular basis - e.g, if a course crosses a public footpath to get to the finish area then the likelihood of a member of public walking across the course is high
- Medium - a risk that isn’t a regular occurrence - taking place a few times a year - for example, weather related risks like the route becoming icy or lightning or occasional debris on the course that can't be safely moved but can be diverted around like large branches and equivalent.
- Low - a risk that isn’t expected to happen but may take place once or twice a year - for example, an annual event may take place at the location which impedes the course.
- High - something that could cause significant impact or consequences for the event, participants or third parties - for example, if a vehicle collided with a participant, due to potential injuries, the impact is high
- Medium - a moderate impact on event, participants or third parties - for example, if the course had icy sections, but they could be easily diverted around and the risk mitigated, the impact is medium due to the slight change in course and the potential for injury if a participant doesn't listen to clear instructions about the changes.
- Low - a risk which has minimal impact on the event, participant or third parties - for example, at most events heavy rain would be low impact as it wouldn’t cause additional risk to participating
Once a risk has been identified then the final step is to mitigate against the risk.
The risk assessment must clearly state what actions the event team will take to reduce the chance of the risk and the event team must follow these actions.
Dependent on the risk this can be done by a combination of the following:
- Acceptance (the risk is noted with no further action) - only risks that will probably never occur or have negligible impact may be accepted with no strategies for avoidance or limitation worked out, for example, if the route goes past a lake but the lake is fenced off then it is unlikely that a participant falls into the lake.
- Avoidance (the likelihood of the risk is reduced) - risks can be reduced by placing marshals and/or cones at riskier locations of the course, informing participants during the pre-event briefings or cancelling the event if the risk can’t be safely mitigated.
- Limitation (minimising the impact of the risk if it occurs) - teams having access to an AED during the event, carrying out the pre-event day course check to identify any one-off risks, placing marshals and/or cones at riskier locations of the course so that the risk is limited
Submitting the Risk Assessment
The reviewed risk assessment must be submitted to Event Support directly from the events parkrun.com email address, (custodial events are exempt from this).
- The date the review was completed
- The name of the person/people who completed the review
- A brief summary of any changes made to the risk assessment or confirm that you believe no changes are required
- If changes are required attach an up to date risk assessment as a .xls document or a Google sheet
- Confirmation the map and course description on the event website is correct or submit an accurate course map and/or course description
- If dogs are allowed at the event or if dogs are not allowed at the event, (at the request of the landowner) should be incorporated.
- The events AED make, model and expiry date of the pads & battery.
If attaching a new risk assessment document please ensure:
- The document layout isn’t modified or the structure changed
- The event name is correct
- The review date is correct and in the correct format of dd/mm/yyyy
- The event number is correct and corresponds to the matching number found at List of Risk Assessments
- Don’t include any additional commentary or text outside of the document boxes
- Don’t exceed 500 characters per section
- Additional risks should be added to the penultimate ‘Additional Risk’ section
- Never include jokes in a Risk Assessment - it is an important legal document, and it should be written with the assumption that it may be read out in a law court in the event of an accident.
- Never modify the spreadsheet layout, structure or formatting (with one exception - see next item). Please do not merge cells, re-colour them, change the order of columns or rows, or change font sizes, etc.
As part of the review process events can add, remove or edit the risks on the document as required.
If the event has access to an AED check the battery and pads are still active & not out of date and confirm this has been done.
- Section 4.0 of the risk assessment should be included to reflect that the AED will be checked weekly, before the start of the event, have access to it and know how to get it to the furthest point in the course asap if required. If the AED is not available, not working or missing then the event must cancel until there is access to a working AED.
- The mitigation in section 4.1 or 4.2 should include the correct location of the AED during the event
In some cases an event may be able to mitigate a risk, (for example flooding on the regular course), by having an alternative course.
parkrun policy is that events can only have one alternative course - please see Event Location and Course Design for further information or alternatively if there are any questions please discuss these with the Event Ambassador.
A request for a new alternative course should be submitted to email@example.com at least one week before the required first date of use.
Without approval, an alternative course must not be used and the event team should follow the parkrun Cancellation Policy.
Existing alternative course risk assessments should be reviewed at the same time as the regular course and include the following:
- Risk Assessment submitted as a separate document to the regular course risk assessment
- A google map of the alternative course is included - (instructions can be found here)
- Written confirmation that the landowner has approved the alternative course
- Explain why the alternative course is required, (this should also be included as mitigation to the specific Health & Safety risk in the regular course risk assessment)
- Include how often it is expected to be used
If an event team utilises their approved alternate course then they should log an incident on EMS/WebFMS to confirm this.
What happens next?
When a risk assessment is submitted the event team will receive an acknowledgement of receipt.
This doesn’t mean the risk assessment has been approved.
When the submitted risk assessment is reviewed we take into account different factors, including but not exclusive to:
- The parkrun Event Location & Course Design Guidance
- The course map & description
- Historical incidents logged at the event
- Previously submitted risk assessments
We may reply to the team with any follow up questions which will need to be answered before we confirm the risk assessment has been approved.
We will send confirmation when the new risk assessment review has been updated onto the system and has therefore been approved.
The List of Risk Assessments will be updated within a few working days to reflect this.