There are two different kinds of risk assessments you need;
Firstly, assessment of the risks to the BJC itself and all the various different sub projects.
Secondly, there are the health and safety kind of risk assessments.
This is a matter of project planning. For example, there is a risk that the event licence will not be granted. One of the key team members may drop out, or you may rely on a funding application which fails. In your risk assessment, you can identify steps you can take to prevent the risk occurring and/or steps you can take to reduce the impact of the risk if it occurs. This is not a back-covering exercise: it's meant to help you avoid horrible things happening.
Some specific risks that you may need to address are
- Low attendance
- Cost control problems (spending more than you meant to)
- Supplier problems (e.g. disagreements over what exactly should be supplied and whether that is included in the agreed price)
- Overstock of clothing, beer or other merchandise.
- Supplier attempting to bill BJC for damage to supplied items (e.g. marquee blows away). The venue for 2013 billed for damage to the finish in their building.
- Anticipated funding doesn't come through.
- Cash theft during event.
- Venue falls through during contract negotiation leaving insufficient time to find a replacement. This happened in 2009 and 2013.
- Event licence is not granted leaving insufficient time to sort it out.
Site management risks
- Wind and its impact on big tops, marquees and other site furniture (firstly from a hazard to jugglers perspective, but also from a property damage perspective).
- Wind and its impact on attendees. In 2015 a lot of attendees were left "homeless" after bad weather and had to be accommodated indoors, which brings its own set of risks. If a situation like this were to become unavoidably unsafe, curtailing the event could be necessary.
- Fire is a risk, particularly if there are gas bottles or a generator on site, and can be mitigated by good site management. Organisers need to know how all buildings and/or big tents would be evacuated if necessary.
- Wet weather and the resulting mud making a massive mess. Matting can be used to cover heavy traffic routes, and herras fence can block off short cuts across muddy areas. Some events have made "no shoes in the hall" policies.
- Vehicles in the camping area (jugglers loading/unloading, caterers leaving to stock up, fuel delivery for generator, bands bringing in gear).
- Crowd safety (e.g. if attendees try to fill show venues over capacity and then there is a panic)
- Thieving fence hoppers.
Legal / people risks
- Key team members drop out (this happens), or worse, flake out and don't flag up the problem.
- First aid incidents need to be properly handled. One day we may have a serious one!
- Underage drinking needs to be managed, particularly when jugglers drink their own beverages in the bar.
- Assault and harassment. In 2008 a young member of venue staff credibly accused a trader of assault. Organisers should at the very least have known which member of the team was responsible for handling this.
Health and Safety Risk Assessments
These are to help prevent accidents during the event. Should there be legal action following an accident, having a risk assessment in place will demonstrate that you took all reasonable steps to prevent the accident... assuming you have implemented the steps that you identified in the risk assessment!
A potentially useful publication is the HSE's "The event safety guide (Second edition)" (A guide to health, safety and welfare at music and similar events) this 200 page document is available to download free from
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg195.pdf (or can be purchased for £20 from the HSE bookshop).
Five steps to risk assessment gives a general overview of how to perform a risk assessment.