Coronavirus (COVID-19): risk assessments for gatherings and events guidance
Under current coronavirus restrictions, if you’re organising or operating an indoor gathering of more than 15 people or outdoor gathering of more than 30 people you must carry out a risk assessment. You must also take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of coronavirus transmission. There is guidance below.
You can find details of the current regulations at this link:
If you’re organising an outdoor event with spectators, the regulations state that spectators and participants should be considered as separate gatherings.
You must carry out separate, appropriate risk assessments for both participants and spectators.
Doing a risk assessment for your event or gathering
A risk assessment will be unique to the size, scale and type of gathering or event planned. However, every risk assessment must identify and evaluate:
- the level of risk of coronavirus transmission and how and why it might spread at the gathering
- measures which are reasonably practicable to take to avoid, reduce or prevent those risks
- those which prioritise the greatest protection for everyone at the gathering
- those designed to replace practices with less-hazardous ones
- the use of clear and concise spoken instructions
As part of the risk assessment you should consider what protective measures or controls you have or can put in place to:
- maintain social distancing, for example:
- crowd density
- floor planning
- staggered admission monitoring and control
- encourage cleaning and hygiene, for example:
- hand sanitising stations
- cleaning regimes
- waste management
- environmental controls and ventilation
- protect people and detect, for example:
- arrangements for contract tracing
- face coverings
- the use of pre-event COVID-19 tests
- first aid or medical support
- separation screens
- emergency response plans
- to communicate rules and procedures to all attendees, for example:
- pre-event messaging
- effective use of website, apps, email or SMS
- event signage
- public addresses during the event
You can use a risk assessment template to help you keep a record of:
- who might be harmed and how
- what you're already doing to control the risks
- what further action you need to take to control the risks
- who needs to carry out the action
- when the action is needed by
A basic risk assessment template is available at:
This is only an example skeleton of what might be included in a risk assessment and that the nature, format and detail may vary considerably for different types of event.
You should not simply copy another risk assessment that you have seen and put your own name to it as this would not protect those taking part in the gathering/ event.
You must think about the specific hazards and controls that your specific gathering/ event needs.
Any risk assessment should be viewed as a ‘living document’ and, as such, should be reviewed if circumstances change.
The outcome of a review and any changes made should be recorded.
Detailed guidance on generic and sector-specific risk assessments is available at the following links, but these are given as examples only:
- Risk assessment (HSENI)
- COVID-19 guidance for event recovery (Association of Event Organisers)
- Events Industry Forum
Providing a copy of a risk assessment
The regulations require that a person responsible for organising or operating a gathering must, if requested to do so by a constable or an enforcement officer, provide a copy of the risk assessment and the preventative and protective measures to be in place, as soon as reasonably practicable, and, in any event, within 24 hours.