Risk assessing programme activities

Each Girlguiding unit and meeting is different, so you need to assess programme activities based on your situation.

How to include programme activities in your risk assessments

When completing your risk assessment, you'll be thinking about your unit meeting space and girls to make sure you are as safe as possible. However, some of the unit meeting activities and skills builder activities in our programme might bring new risks to your unit.

To help with your risk assessments and make sure we’re all safe together, we’ve reviewed the programme and highlighted any potential risks and things to be aware of on each activity, so you can include them in your risk assessments.

All programme activities have been risk assessed and designed to reduce risk as much as possible. But every unit and meeting space is different, so it's  important to assess each risk based on your unit specifically. That’s why we can’t provide pre-populated risk assessments.

Here we’ve flagged some of the top hazards in the programme. And explained what you'll need to consider when mitigating these risks.

There might be more risks or additional considerations based of your unit’s situation, so please think specifically about your girls and unit space when risk assessing programme activities.

 


Allergens and food
- Check that nobody in the unit is allergic to any of the items you use.
- Consider food allergens and dietary requirements and plan your meeting accordingly.
- Consider sensitivities to chemicals or objects that could result in reactions, such as latex.
- If using food, consider hygiene arrangements and provisions for hot and cold water. If possible, have separate sinks for hand washing.
Using the internet
- Check any online content prior to the unit meeting to make sure everything is appropriate.
- Make sure that girls do not share any personal information on the internet.
- Highlight to girls that if they see something online that worries or upsets them, to tell their leader, parent or carer.
- Be wary of emails that contain unknown links which could download viruses or other harmful files onto your devices.

Physical exertion
- Check if any of your girls have underlying medical conditions or injuries.
- Make sure that there is drinking water readily available.
- Communicate with girls to exercise within their limits.
- Adjust any activities accordingly based off the needs of your girls or unit space.
- Consider weather in your risk assessment especially extremes of hot and cold / high humidity.
- Ensure that you evaluate the level of first aid cover needed is proportionate and relevant to the risk and potential types of injury.
Fire
- Other hazards might include cooking, gas or hot irons.
- Never leave a fire unattended and wait until it is fully extinguished.
- Always have a bucket of water/sand/earth nearby to extinguish the fire.
- Never light a fire on peat, under a tree or near shrubs and bushes.
- Make sure hair is tied back and clothes and jewellery are tucked in when around a flammable object.
- Be aware of how the direction of the wind could blow the fire.
- An alight candle should never be left unattended.
- Always put candles on a plate or heatproof mat when burning.
- Always familiarise yourselves with emergency procedures and actions to take in the event of a fire
- Detail how people will evacuate and where to assemble in the event of a fire


Using tools
- Demonstrate how to safely use each tool and explain the dangers to girls clearly.
- Make sure that girls carry and walk with tools pointing them downwards.
- Make sure girls are not distracted when using the tools and that there is plenty of space around them.
- Make sure that there is safety equipment if needed, such as goggles or safety gloves.
- If using sandpaper, make sure girls wear a dust mask, and use only in a well-ventilated area.
- Always follow the manufacturers instructions
- Only use tools that are fit for purpose and in good working order

Sharing personal information
- Make sure girls do not include full names or identifiable personal details on any item that is shared with the public.
Using knives
- Wherever possible use safety knives or knives specifically designed for use by children
- All use of knives must be supervised
- Make sure girls are aware of how to safely hold and use your knives.
- Make sure the knife is directed away from the body when cutting.
- Make sure to use a cutting or chopping board.
- Make sure girls always hold on firmly to what they are cutting.
- Make sure that fingers are kept away from the blade.
- Make sure that girls are aware that if they drop the knife, to not try to catch it. Step back and pick it up once it has landed.

Going outside
- Depending on the activity, walk through of the area before taking girls out of the unit.
- Carry out a dynamic risk assessment for on the day risks that may not have been mentioned in the risk assessment
- Make sure the area is clear of any significant risks that could cause harm.
- Change your plans and update risk assessment if adjustments need to be made.
- Make sure girls are aware of the task you are asking, and the boundaries on where they can go.
- Where necessary give the girls a briefing prior to going outside for an activity
- Make sure ratio and consent forms are all in order within Girlguiding policies.
- Are there any risks from contact with insects?
- Are there any hazards posed by animals? Consider
o Dog bites
o Cat scratches
o Horse bites kicks
o Farm animals and zoonosis
- Are all areas free of broken glass or other sharp objects
- Has the area been checked for deep holes
- Are there any areas of deep water near by?
- Is there any traffic or other moving vehicles to consider?
- Are there any poisonous plants or fungus in the activity area?

Using sharp objects (needles or cocktail sticks)
- Count all needles that you are using within the activity.
- Talk through with your girls how to safely hold and use a needle/cocktail stick.
- Consider if safety goggles are required.
- Supervise girls using needles at all time.
- Make sure needle/cocktail sticks are not put near their face or eyes.
Be sure that all needles/cocktail sticks are returned at the end of the session.

Age-appropriate
- Make sure that your girls are drawing/writing content or having conversations which are appropriate for everyone in your unit.