Event risk assessment and management
During the planning phase, carefully consider potential risks involved with staging your event.
Identify, mitigate and manage risks
Invite as many people as possible involved with the event to identify potential risks. Risks can include:
- medical emergencies, including drug and alcohol issues, injuries, severe allergic reactions, heat stroke or exhaustion, life-threatening events, and mass casualty incidents which could overwhelm local health resources
- emergencies requiring involvement of the police or fire brigades
- poor financial planning and/or budget forecasting
- security breach
- inadequate security
- non-arrival of performers or deliveries of goods
- equipment failure
- property damage or loss
- food poisoning
- lost children
- breach of noise restrictions
- money handling
- larger than expected crowds
- sun exposure or adverse/extreme weather
- damage or injury from fireworks
- inadequate insurance
- electricity outages or surges
- lack of care with hazardous materials
- reputational risk and inadequate public messaging, including communications with event audience and non-event community.
Risks should be carefully analysed and then rated according to likelihood and impact. Control measures should then be developed to reduce the likelihood of risks occurring. Comparing the benefits and costs will help you decide your mitigation strategies. Focus on risks that have significant impacts or consequences.
Your risk management plan should form part of your emergency management approach. Once you have developed your plan, continue to monitor, assess and manage risks throughout the planning of the event, and during the event itself.
Reputational risk or the public perception of event risk is an important consideration, in addition to operational or public safety risks. Engage your communications team and organisational executives to consider communications risk or reporting requirements.
If terrorism risks are identified, develop your response in partnership with your NSW Police Force Area Command. Guidance material on the Secure NSW website, particularly the Crowded Places Security Audit and Self-Assessment Tool, will help you identify any security vulnerabilities. These resources and information is guided by the Australia's Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism and the current National Terrorism Threat Level.
Keep records of the risk management processes for legal reasons, and so you can review and improve risk management for future events.
Share risk assessments and management plans with relevant stakeholders and agencies. Consult with your venue or land manager and any key stakeholders regarding any risks may they have identified and/or are mitigating for your event. Internal or interagency risk and readiness workshops or ‘tabletop exercises’ are a good way to identify, assess and mitigate risks.
Risk management standards
Refer to the Australian Standard Risk Management (AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009) on the Standards Australia website.
The standard is available for purchase from the SAI Global section.