A risk assessment is a careful examination of what could cause harm to people. Risk assessment should be a practical exercise, aimed at getting the right controls in place – keep it simple and put the results into practice.
Franchisees are required to undertake a risk assessment of every venue before commencing classes in that venue using the Form Health and Safety venue risk assessment June08 (32). The risk assessment must:
- identify all the potential hazards which could lead to accidents or injuries
- identify who could be harmed by these hazards and how
- evaluate what is currently in place to mitigate these risks
- identify what further action needs to be taken
Franchisees must conduct risk assessments for each venue and update them should anything change at the venue. Each risk assessment must be specific to the individual venue and be carried out on site, so all hazards can be identified. These might include things such as stacked chairs, tables, staging, glass doors, steps, curtains, plug points, hot radiators, adequate lighting and heating, fire exits, flooring, etc
Franchisees must also consider risks that occur once they begin to use the venue. These might include things such as buggies and pushchairs, children’s water bottles, coats and bags, car seats and siblings who sit on the edge, class equipment, etc.
For each hazard identified in the risk assessment, franchisees must identify what can be done to reduce the risk of it causing an accident. For example, it might be that chairs or buggies should be pushed to one corner of the room, that coats should be placed on windowsills rather than on the floor, that a loose tile in the floor should be reported to the venue owners and that area cordoned off during a class until it is fixed, or a warning be given at the start of each class about not running too close to the curtains.
Every risk assessment for each venue must be signed and dated and kept in your class file (download our Form Health and Safety sample venue risk assessment June08 (21) to help you complete your first ones).
As well as conducting a risk assessment of each venue, franchisees must also carry out regular assessments on all class equipment as this is just as likely to cause injuries. They must check that everything is in good working order and consider the potential hazards should it become faulty or worn. This must be done at the start of each year or whenever a new piece of equipment is introduced. Have the form by you when you do your regular clean of class equipment and update the assessment then. These Form Health and Safety equipment risk assessment June08 (25) must again be signed, dated and filed.
Health and Safety Checks
Once a risk assessment for a venue has been completed, franchisees will have created a list of actions to undertake in order to make the venue a safe place to hold classes. These actions must then be added to the Form Health and Safety check list June12 (29), which already contains generic checks you must complete before every class. You should add in any other checks you feel are appropriate. This checklist should then be printed and placed in your class file and taken to every class. Franchisees must refer to this checklist every time they hold a class. This also applies to all parties and fetes. This checklists will remind franchises to take action to control all identified risks every time they prepare for their class. There is a box to tick on your class register to show you have completed your checklist.
Should franchisees identify a new hazard, this must be noted on the back of your class register along with any action taken. For example, a checklist may require a franchisee to ensure the floor is in good repair, clean and dry. But on one particular day a leaky radiator may have led to water in the corner of the room. A franchisee must make a note of this on the back of their register, along with the date, and note down what action they took, such as drying the floor with some paper towels, putting a table in front of the radiator to stop people going too close and warning parents and children about it at the start of each class.