The Boys' Brigade Australia

Successfully operating youth work programs for 125 years.


Risk Management

Risk Assessment?Please note:This set of notes was written with the intention of being an aid for leaders in The Boys' Brigade taking risk management classes. It is in no way definitive, but merely a guide.
The intelligent anticipation of events that could have harmful consequences, and the adoption of courses of action aimed at stopping the feared events or minimising their impact.
Level 1: Identifying basic hazards and their risk. Planning for them by developing knowledge and attitudes
Level 2 and 3: Recognizing risk, knowledge of and attitude to risk. Hazard recognition and risk minimization. Escape routes and emergency procedures.
In this lesson you are going to learn the basics of Risk Management. The reasons you learn this are:
# To attain a risk level in outdoor pursuits that is acceptable to The Boys' Brigade.
# To prevent accidents and injury to all persons and property associated with the outdoor pursuits and activities of Boys' Brigade. By the end of this lesson you will have a better idea of how to identify, assess and control risks in outdoor activities.
Risk management is the intelligent anticipation of events that could have harmful consequences, and the adoption of courses of action aimed at stopping the feared events or minimizing their impact. Risks are a part of everyday life. However, on an expedition a greater number and different risks are taken. Examples of risks in everyday life: crossing roads, playing sport, travelling by car, using electrical equipment, etc. Examples of risks on an expedition that are not common in everyday life: drowning (canoeing expedition), falling from cliff, getting lost, tripping, poisonous animals/plants, etc. To reduce these risks, there is a series of steps that must be taken.

A. Hazard Identification:

There are a number of ways to identify potential sources of injury. In order of preference and reliability they are:
* Leader reconnaissance - if an area difficult to traverse is encountered, the leader can do a quick reconnaissance of the area before leading the group through it.
* Expedition - hiked by leader first.
* Rock climbing - area inspected by group before climb.
Historical Data
* - Talk to others who have done it before - eg. older boys who have done the expedition in previous years.
* - Caution must taken when employing this method - eg. recent rainfall may have swollen creeks that posed no problems to previous expeditions.
* When it is not possible to carry out inspection of an area prior to the expedition, prediction is an option. This requires the leader and/or boys to "mind walk" through the route with maps and logs and preferably with historical data taking note of potential hazards. During Outdoor Pursuit - Never substitute this method for those proceeding. Waiting until a hazard is encountered rather than identifying it before hand is a recipe for disaster. However, it is impossible to identify all risks in advance. Therefore members of an expedition must be constantly on the lookout for unexpected hazards. External Specialists - In any outdoor pursuits, there are experts who can assist in identifying hazards. This advice may be in a book, brochure, notes or verbal form.

B. Risk Assessment

Once a risk has been identified, it must determined whether it is acceptable or not: For example
* Is the risk of getting burnt by a campfire on an expedition acceptable?
* Is swimming in a creek known to contain sharks an acceptable risk to take? The answers to these may be obvious. However, it is often difficult to determine the acceptability of some risks. To determine this, three factors must be taken into consideration.
* What is the probable result of the risk?
* How many people/how much property will be damaged and how badly?
* Will it result in possible multiple fatalities or minor cuts, bruises or bumps.
* How often is the hazard likely to occur?
* Also defined as the frequency with which the hazard is likely to occur.
* Will it happen several times a day (the possibility of a sprained ankle) or has it never been known to occur (being struck by lightning).
* Once the hazard occurs, how likely is the complete accident sequence of events resulting in the accident and it's consequences to happen?
* Once the hazard occurs, is the accident expected to happen or is it almost impossible. So a particular hazard might be acceptable if
* it results only in a minor bruise or cut (tripping on a log)
* it is only a "once off" event (having to walk next to a cliff edge)
* it is not likely to happen at all (a lightning strike)

C. Risk Control

Now that the risk has been identified and if it has been determined to be unacceptable, the next step is to control it. There are several ways of doing this.
# Design - Allows hazards to be designed out and control measures to be designed in.
# Redesign/Elimination - eg. Change a hike route to avoid a cliff.
# Substitution - eg. On bike expedition substitute a major highway for a minor one.
# Separation - Separate the people from the hazard by time or distance. - eg. If a scuba diving trip was planned and a storm is imminent, change the date to another date (separation by time). If a snake is spotted on a hike, walk around it (separation by distance).
# Personal Protective Equipment - Use all available safety equipment


The reason you have learned this is so that as Boys and potential leaders in outdoor activities within The Boys' Brigade Australia, you can correctly identify, assess and control risks to yourself, others and equipment. Sergeant Dan Yates 13th Brisbane Company 25 August 1994 Information supplied by Peter Wiseman, 13th Brisbane Company. Modified for BBA site.

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Peter Shave (19 Jun 2006)

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