JK Health and Safety and Risk Management

In common with other sports, a certain risk is involved in orienteering. 

This section contains templates for risk assessments as well as past JK risk assessment for reference. There is information relating to a whole range of health & safety & risk management functions – including First Aid requirements for a JK, a missing competitor procedure and casualty recovery procedure.

It should be emphasised that the risk inherent in orienteering is generally very low.  Historically, serious difficulties have normally only arisen with very senior age groups, poorly planned courses (particularly the run-in), and elite competitors. As a general principle, the quality of the courses should not be compromised, as long as appropriate safety measures are in place.  Day Organisers, Planners and Controllers need to demonstrate that as far as possible, hazards both on and off the orienteering course have been identified, the risks of these hazards assessed and safeguards to mitigate the risks put in place.   


Scroll through the page or use the links below to jump to a section  
1. Summary 2. Event Safety Plan 3. Risk Assessment
4. Insurance 5. First Aid 6. Missing/Lost People
7. Major Incident    
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Although the Day Organiser is in overall charge of their day, the Safety Officer’s role is to ensure that adequate measures have been put in place to provide an orienteering event which is as safe as is reasonably practicable and that it complies with current British Orienteering Rules and Appendices (especially Appendix E: Event Safety), Policies and Regulations and Major Events’ documents. These areas include overseeing the risk assessments, first aid missing/lost people and major incidents.


Event Safety Plan

An Event Safety plan is an overall document that brings together all the elements of the planning of the Safety aspects of a JK. 

The JK2020 Event Safety Plan comprises eight Safety Documents, compiled from the agreed findings of the Risk Assessments.  In addition, Safety Document 9 is a scrapbook of “what-ifs” for all to consider and suggest solutions. Further examples are available on request.

Safety Document 0: Introduction to the Event

NB Click on the templates above and download them to edit.


Risk Assessment

The purpose of the risk assessment is to try and identify all the weak points of an event, what might go wrong and how can each problem be managed. Contingency arrangements can either be put in place or at least the Organiser can think about what they might do in the if a particular problem occurs. One risk assessment form may be required per day.

The risk assessment will need to be undertaken at an early stage and will probably be best done by splitting it into sections that cover key areas: car park and travel routes, Assembly areas, start/finish, the courses & terrain.

  • Car park & travel routes- one-way system, separate entrance/exit, segregation of cars & pedestrians, road crossing, traffic lights, marshals etc.
  • Assembly area – electrical safety issues, cable runs, generator positions, shelter, First Aid.
  • Start/Finish – remote location, communication system, First Aid, shelter?
  • Courses/terrain – hazards to manage, roads, railways, rivers, cliffs, mines, quarries, steep slopes, remote nature, access for recovery team, marshals & helpers safety.

With enough time to work through the various issues that arise from this early risk assessment, most hazards can be dealt with and the risks mitigated or managed.

Risk Assessment Template

Day 1 Risk Assessment

Day 2 Risk Assessment

Day 3 Risk Assessment

Day 4 Risk Assessment

Marquee risk assessment considerations

NB  Click on the risk assessments above and download them to edit.


Risk log & plan

In addition to the risk assessment form, you may also wish to draw up a risk management plan and a risk log. The purpose of this is to try and identify all the weak points of an event, what might go wrong and how can each problem be managed. Contingency arrangements can either be put in place or at least the Organiser can think about what they might do in the event of that particular problem occurring.

Safety Document 9: What If - Disaster Anticipation



British Orienteering has insurance that includes:

Public & Products Liability £10 million any one event (any one-period costs inclusive for Products / Pollution)

Professional Indemnity £10 million any one period

Abuse £2.5 million any one-period costs inclusive

Employers Liability £10 million any one event (£5m in respect of any one event arising directly or indirectly out of terrorism). British Orienteering and National Associations and clubs only.

Equipment insurance up to £125,000

British Orienteering includes its National Associations, Affiliated Clubs, Members, Coaches, Activators, Mappers, Site Assessors, leaders & Event Officials.

The Frequently Asked Questions document gives more detail.

British Orienteering Proof of Insurance

Insurance FAQs


First Aid

First Aid services should be provided on each day at a First Aid point in the Event Arena. There also may need to be First Aid points near the start (s) if these are remote and exposed and/or located a significant distance from the main First Aid point. There may need to be mobile-first Aid service – either using a 4 x 4, on foot or bike.

The risk assessment should identify what are the First Aid needs for each day.

The First Aid requirements template sets out the starting point for obtaining quotes for a First Aid service. This will need to be amended to reflect local requirements and may be amended by the First Aid company based on their experiences and expertise.

Most First Aid providers also hire out radios and provide for a radio communication service, to include a repeater mast & equipment. The risk assessment should cover emergency communications for the event.

First Aid Event Brief

First Aid Quote Template

NB Click on the templates above and download them to edit.


Missing/Lost People

The Safety Officer will be responsible for coordinating the search for a missing runner. They will be assisted by the controller, planner and organiser as needed.  Contact BOF Chief Executive before making any contact with the media.

The aim of the Child Handover Plan is to provide a safe method of reuniting a lone child, who is separated from its parent or carer, back with their parent/carer or responsible adult.

Safety Document 2: Search and Rescue Plan

Safety Document 3: Child Handover Plan

NB  Click on the templates above and download to edit.



Every event needs a plan for how teams will communicate between them during the event and also what the protocol is for communications is in the event of an emergency.

It is important that radio communications are kept to a minimum and used only for essential information. Where mobile phones are found to work they should be used in preference. Day Organiser to brief team leaders on this and to monitor radio traffic.

Safety Document 7: Communications Plan

NB  Click on the template above and download to edit.


Major Incident

In the event of a major incident occurring, the day organiser should liaise with the coordinator and set up a crisis team. The members of this team should be identified in advance and respond when called on the radio.

Particular attention should be paid to how will a record of the incident and the actions be collated. This may be by video recording, photographs and also consider appointing someone whose task is to log all the actions.

If a casualty requires recovery e.g. from the competition area, the Day Organiser will initiate a rescue in conjunction with the First Aid service.

Safety Document 2: Search and Rescue Plan

Safety Document 6: Emergency Plan and Media Protocol

Accident Report Form

Accident Report Form MF

NB Click on the templates above and download to edit.


Fire Safety

According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, there is a legal requirement to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment at all outdoor events. All persons must be able to escape safely from a tent or enclosure in the event of a fire. General, reasonable fire precautions are required to ensure that the tents including outside areas and exits are safe.

In addition, if there is the use of indoor facilities, then Fire safety precautions and actions on the event of a fire indoors must also be documented.

Safety Doc 4: Fire Risk Assessment

Safety Doc 5: Fire Incident Guidelines

Safety Doc 5.1: Fire Incident Guidelines - Indoor

NB  Click on the templates above and download to edit.


Electrical Safety

The Organiser has a general responsibility to ensure safety at the event site. Suppliers of equipment and services are responsible for the safety of the equipment they provide. Especially, care should be taken during set up and take down phases and over any unplanned changes. Therefore, all reasonable care must be taken to shield users, competitors and 3rd parties from any possible hazard created by any electrical equipment. This includes items such as PA system, generator, computers and printers.

Electrical Safety Guidance


Road Safety

Detailed instructions should be given in the event programme to allow competitors and spectators to find the Event car park without needing the use of signs placed on public highways.

British Orienteering branded road signs may be placed in the immediate area for turn off to the car park if it is not obvious to find the entrance., they may also be needed to slow down traffic before turning into a narrow entranceway.

If deemed necessary all other road signs must be procured from an official producer of signs and put out by a qualified traffic management officer.

Applications for road closures and other traffic management measures such as a temporary traffic speed restriction or temporary traffic lights must be considered at a very early stage, in consultation with the local Safety Advisory Groups (SAG) and budgeted for.

Safety Doc 8: Traffic Management plan

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