Safety Services


Event safety plan and risk assessment

This page provides guidance on how to safely plan for an event at UCL, including the preparation of a suitable event risk assessment.

On this page 

What is an event?

An event is any planned gathering or occasion that does not fall within the normal work duties or study activities at UCL. Examples of events include, but are not limited to:

  • Ceremonies and celebrations
  • Conferences
  • Open days
  • Fairs
  • Networking events
  • Team building events

It is paramount that events at UCL are properly planned to ensure the safety, health and welfare of all persons involved in the event, including the attendees themselves. 

How to plan for an event to run safely?

When planning for an event, it is important to consider the three main stages of the event and the health and safety considerations at each of these stages.. 


This is the preparation stage for the actual event and could potentially include:

  • The movement of furniture and other materials
  • The preparation and decoration of the event space
  • The setting up of any temporary structures, AV (audio-visual) equipment or other electrical equipment
  • The preparation for the provision of food and beverages

Actual event

This stage is the running of the event. The considerations at this stage could include:

  • Management of crowds
  • Welfare of attendees and staff
  • Dealing with any incidents or emergency situations
  • Managing build up of waste and rubbish


This stage is dealing with the aftermath of the event, with the aim being to return the event space back to its original condition. The considerations at this stage could include: 

  • Cleaning of the event space
  • Removal of waste and rubbish
  • Dismantling of any temporary structures
  • Disconnection and/or removal of AV and other electrical equipment
  • Movement and reorganisation of furniture and other materials

It is important to allow an appropriate amount of time to plan your event, to consider all three stages and liaise with the right stakeholders.

Event risk assessment

A risk assessment must be completed for any events taking place at UCL. This should be completed by the event organiser(s).

The guidance below will help you prepare a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for your event.

Event overview

The risk assessment should include a clear and concise overview of the event, which should consist of the following information:

  • The name and purpose of the event
  • The event organiser(s) and sponsor(s)
  • Date and time of the actual event (and where possible, the pre and post event stages)
  • Location of the event
  • Number of attendees (exact or approximate)

People invovled in the event

You must consider anyone who will be working on the event at any of the stages, the attendees and any other parties who will be effected by the running of the event.

Examples of people that could be involved in the event are:

  • UCL employees
  • Students
  • Contractors and other third=parties 
  • Members of the public 
  • Young persons 

By knowing who is invovled in the event, you can ensure that their safety, health and welfare is considered in the risk assessment. 


Events at UCL will vary in their size, nature and complexity. Therefore, it is important to consider the hazards specific to your event, at all three stages of the event. 

Examples of some hazards you may identify at the different event stages are:

Pre-eventActual eventPost-event
Manual handling when moving equipment, furniture and other materialsCrowd managment and securityManual handling when moving equipment, furniture and other materials
Assembly of temporary structures such as a stage, marquee or gazeboSlips, trips or falls during the event timeDisassembly of temporary structures such as a stage, marquee or gazebo
Working at height when decorating the event spaceFirst aid coverage and provision of first aid equipmentWorking at height when removing decorations from the event space
Management of contractors when working with suppliers and other third-partiesFire evacuation arrangements and marshalingManagement of contractors when working with suppliers and other third-parties
Electrical hazards when setting up or working with electrical and AV equipmentStability of temporary structuresSlips, trips or falls if the event space is crowded with materials and furniture during the clean up
Slips, trips or falls if the event space is crowded with materials and furniture during the set-upFailure of electrical equipmentElectrical hazards when disconnecting or working with electrical and AV equipment
Adverse weather if outdoorsAccess to welfare facilities Removal of waste and rubbish
 Accumulation of waste and rubbishCleaning of the event space
 Adverse weather if outdoorsAdverse weather if outdoors

Control measures

Based on the hazards you identify, control measures should be put in place to control the risk. This should be done by utilising the hierarchy of risk control.

Some examples of things you can do to manage the health and safety of your event are:

  • Have event stewards / ambassadors to manage crowds, answer queries and help ensure the successful running of the event.
  • Work with specialist support functions across UCL (porters, catering, security etc.).
  • Work with competent contractors and other third-parties for equipment hire, assembly, performances etc.
  • Ensure you have adequately planned for emergencies, know the evacuation routes and have suitable first aider and fire marshal coverage.
  • Maintain good housekeeping throughout all the event stages.


The event risk assessment must be approved prior to the event taking place. If this has not happened, the event will be stopped from going ahead until the risk assessment has been approved.

The approver of the event risk assessment should be the event sponsor or a senior manager/leader from the department or faculty that is hosting/running the event.

It is the responsibility of the approver to ensure the event risk assessment has, so far as reasonably practicable, controlled the risk to protect the safety, health and welfare of everyone involved in the event. 


Once the risk assessment has been approved, it is necessary to ensure the control measures are communicated to the affected parties, so that all stages of the event can run smoothly and safely. This may not mean simply sharing the risk assessment with everyone, as different groups may only require certain bits of information. 

Some examples of methods to communicate the outcomes of the risk assessment:

  • The entirety of the risk assessment can be shared with the event organiser(s), sponsors and any other person(s) who will be managing the event.
  • Briefings can be provided to event support staff / stewards / ambassadors who will require certain information about the running of the event, the evacuation and first aid procedures and how to direct attendees to welfare facilities.
  • Safe working methods can be communicated to staff, contractors and other third-parties involved in any of the event stages, but partcularly the pre and post-event stages.
  • Signage and posters can provide key information to event attendees, as well as ensuring event stewards are easily identifiable should they need to engage with them. 

Complete you event risk assessment on riskNET →

Last updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Further information

UCL Guidance

Events Toolkit
> Room bookings

Supplementary Guidance

Guidance on running events safely (HSE)
Electrical Safety for Entertainers (HSE)