Managing Risk

We all share responsibility for ensuring a safe space and safe activity for volunteers participating in work in parks and open spaces, including the landowner, the group chair and the volunteers on the day…

Assessing Risk

Managing Health and Safety requires a risk assessment to be carried out for every work activity
This risk assessment should be recorded and confirmed by Natural Environment Services as appropriate for the site and the work activity. Risk assessment is a vital basis to the management of health and safety.

Support with understanding and completing this process can be provided by your Community Green Spaces Project Manager (link to contacts page).

A number of sample risk assessments are available, below, for your group to amend as appropriate.The following Information from HSE provides guidance on identifying and managing risk

What is Risk Assessment?

Risk assessment is not about creating large amounts of paperwork, but taking a sensible approach to controlling risks and using a risk assessment to help you to ensure that you cover all relevant areas.

We carry out risk assessments constantly throughout our lives, every time we walk up steps, drive a car, etc. and a risk assessment document helps you to decide whether you have covered all of the necessary aspects.

Your risk assessment need not be a complicated document. A simple template is available below.

In this process, you will look at how incidents could occur, how serious the outcomes could be and how these incidents can be avoided.

Steps in Identifying Risk– Risks and Hazards

  • A hazard is anything which may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer etc.

  • The risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.


Identify the hazards

Decide who might be harmed and how

Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions

Record your significant findings

Review your assessment: update if necessary


In addition to the work you are carrying out, which will have its own risk assessment associated ith the tasks, there is also the site on which you are working to be consider. When risk assessming your site, there is no complete checklist, but the following should be considered, along with any special circumstances of your site:


  • The type of surface and any (degree of) sloping or uneven ground
  • Proximity to roads or traffic throughways on site
  • Weather and its impact on your site and work (snow, rain, ice, sun – what and where is the nearest shelter and what is the risk of exposure?)
  • Positioning of vehicles for loading and unloadign tools and materials
  • Hazards from this and other nearby sites, such as dust, pollution and debris
  • Hazards from previous land use (e.g. ex-landfill site risks, materials or hazardous waste remianing)
  • Underground and overhead utlitities (water, gas, telephone wires, electricity)
  • Other site users and activities (cycle paths, orienteering, education groups, public rights of way)


> What Risk Assessments and Permissions do I need?

To ensure that we cover the key points and that individual volunteers feel engaged with the process as well as taking responsibility for their part of the task safety, we need to ensure they record that they have heard, understood and are happy to comply with the safety actions required. They must therefore sign onto the H&S Plan & Risk Assessment Induction Sheet.

 Before work commences each day a Stop! Take A Minute must be completed together with the briefing register.

This is a dynamic risk assessment of the site and tasks, which ensures that the team is aware of the risks involved and that any additional risks arising on the day (due to aspects such as site changes and weather) are acknowledged and action agreed to prevent resulting incidents.

 Learn more about delivering this type of safety talk here.


>Safety Talks