Risk / Risk Benefit Assessment

Principle and Statement of Intent

This policy has been formed following the guidelines and principles in the:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)
  • Current guidance on the Health and Safety Executive website (HSE)
  • Current guidance on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents website (ROSPA)

Bumbles Day Care aims to ensure that all our environments, activities, trips, outings, materials and equipment are safe for children, staff, parents and visitors. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that any hazards associated with these are identified, removed or minimised to an acceptable level of risk.

We appreciate that children and young people need some level of risk in their activities, trips and outings in order to ensure that they continue to develop, but these risks are assessed to ensure that any risks are appropriate to individual ages and stages of development. Where the risk is beneficial to their learning and deemed acceptable, staff will refer to a Risk Benefit Assessment. (see below).

What is the difference between a hazard and a risk?

A hazard is an article, substance, piece of equipment or an installation with the potential to cause harm. A risk is a measure of the probability that the hazards, (potential for harm), will materialise if certain controls are not put in place. For example, a trailing wire, spillage or loose material. Our responsibility is to ensure that we remove the hazards or assess them to determine if the risk will benefit the children in exploring it, and if we consider if it is safe to do.

Who is Responsible?

It is the responsibility of the Management Team, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure that risks to staff, parents, visitors and children are minimised or eliminated whenever possible.

It is the responsibility of Co-ordinators to ensure that risk assessments / risk benefit assessments are completed for all environments, activities, trips and outings etc, as appropriate. All members of our team can complete Risk Assessment documentation. The Co-Ordinators / Deputy Managers / Manager are responsible for completing Risk Benefit Assessment documentation.

The law does not advise to eliminate all risk, but Bumbles is required to protect all staff, visitors, parents and children as far as reasonably practicable. Our legal requirement is to assess the risks so that we can put in place a plan to control the risks. All Risk Assessments and Risk Benefit Analysis documentation must meet
Bumbles insurance policy requirements.

Risk Assessments are carried out in order to identify potential hazards in activities that should be removed.

Risk assessments commonly look at the activity; identify hazards associated with it and come up with strategies to reduce the hazards to an acceptable risk. Risk Assessments must be carried out on all existing and new activities that take place in Bumbles. It is identified that some activities with a low level of risk will not be assessed for risk on every occasion; however, these risk assessments will be reviewed on a monthly basis and signed by the member of staff reviewing the risk assessment to ensure that it is still valid.

Procedure : There are five steps to risk assessment at Bumbles:
Step 1 – Identify the hazard
Step 2 – Decide who could be harmed and how
Step 3 – Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
Step 4 – Record findings and implement them
Step 5 – Review your assessment and update if necessary.

We then share these risk assessments with the team to be edited monthly.

Risk-benefit assessment is the comparison of the risk of a situation to its related benefits. Risk benefit assessments should focus on the benefits that the children will get from an activity first and foremost and they allow playworkers to see that risk is an essential element in the development of children’s physical, emotional and intellectual development. If a situation involves more than minimal risk of harm to children, we must be sure that the amount of benefit clearly outweighs the amount of risk. Certainly, in our wrap around care when following the playwork principles, we should be offering play opportunities that offer risk and challenge but be ready to use our professional judgment to know when to intervene in children’s play without disrupting the
play cycle.

Procedure : When we are carrying out the risk-benefit assessment, there must be no potential damage to yourself, others or property. Acceptable and unacceptable risks should be noted on a risk benefit form and checked with a member of the management team before carrying out the activity with the children. This will ensure that all staff are consistent in their approach. In Playwork settings, the children should be included in the process. The factors to determine whether or not the level of risk is acceptable are:

  1. The activity
  2. Who is at risk of harm
  3. The likelihood of coming to harm during it – any additional considerations?
  4. The severity of harm
  5. The benefits, rewards or outcomes of the activity if carried out
  6. Precautions in place to reduce the risk of injury.

Further training in Risk Assessment and risk benefit assessment will be carried out in staff induction and throughout the year as risk assessments are carried out / shared / adapted.