“As leisure managers we are constantly in the position of having to identify risk factors such as hazard and perils. These factors are not always evident or apparent but have to be understood and identified by the leisure manager. In order to create a safe environment in which the activity has to take place, a balance has to be met.” Rock 2004 (cover sheet)

This assignment will discuss the risk from a manager’s perspective, how each manager determines what risk is and ways to combat risk. The assignment will discuss the roles of legislation and procedures in leisure centres and how they determine how activities are run. The assignment will explain the difficulty with managing both individuals without taking the essence of what the individual requires. This assignment will also show how different individuals require different experiences from activities that they choose.

It is important to understand what risk is and understand how it differs to hazard, even though there are similarities. “Risk is the likelihood of something causing harm and its likely severity. In the health and safety sense it relates to harm to persons (either as physical harm or ill health). Risk is something that we encounter in our every day lives and where, often subconsciously, we make decisions as to its acceptability. There is no definitive answer as to ‘what is acceptable’. Each risk has to be determined in the light of its particular circumstances although societal attitudes and the law may influence this.”(Health and safety executive, risk management (2004)) hazards are very closely linked with assessments of risk, it has been argued by identifying the hazard you are then able to reduce or eradicate the risk.

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In leisure centre, there is not many high risk activities, but there is many medium and low risks, its important to judge what, which risks are the most important to do something about and ones that only low probability of happening.

Risk criteria:

Risk can be categorised into 3 sections; high, medium and low. High risk is the likelihood of fatality, major injuries or illness causing long-term disability e.g. (sky diving, hang gliding, skiing and base jumping). Medium risk is the likelihood of injury or illness causing short-term disability e.g. (contact sports, football, rugby basketball etc). Low risks are risks with little or low chance of getting injury or illness e.g. (chess, bowling etc) Since risk is dependant on the likelihood of harm occurring, as well as the severity of the harmful outcome, it can be categorised qualitatively using a matrix in appendix A (Leeds County Council risk assessment matrix). The manager decides the judgement of the likely outcome of an accident and the probability of the accident occurring. The matrix can then be used to help the manager decide how significant the level of risk is. The manager should take into account that the accidents are largely unpredictable, so at time it can be only guesswork.


Why do people choose activities that are dangerous with high risk? Well different people have different characteristics and different perceptions of risk. Personality, characteristics which lead people when placed in similar circumstances to react/behave in different ways. The psychology theory that has dominated the field of personality, in sport players and athletes, is the ‘trait theory’. The theory is based that our personality is made up of a finite number of characteristics or traits (continuous quality that individuals possess in different amounts). Thomas Tutko and Bruce Ogilvie argue that certain characteristics marked out successful sports people they are: aggression, coach ability, conscientiousness, determination, drive, emotional control, guilt proneness, leadership, mental toughness, self confidence and trust. If the participants don’t have any of these traits, it would inhibit their performance, most likely they will have some of these characteristics, but it can be said more the characteristics, more chance of being successful and confident in doing activities of high risk.

. “Motivation has many definitions, the wish, desire, drive impulse to participate in/perform well at a sport/goal directed activity. The desire is associated with the expectation that positive outcome will ensure. The drive to achieve will to win/aspirations. The direction of behaviour/level of arousal. The reasons why people do what they do. The energised state which prepares us to act. Motivation is a strong factor on how well the participant will perform” Chris Embling 1998 walnut educational initiative. The motivation of a person, can determine, the risk that they do in activities. In certain activities (high risk) people like to go the ‘edge’ they have are intrinsically motivated. The people who do low risk activities are sometimes known to have high amount of extrinsic motivation

In 1994, Zuckerman developed a theory commonly known as Impulsive sensation Seeking Theory IMPSS, did an investigation into sensation seeking among high and low risks sports; he sampled 166 athletes of all diverse tendencies. The study investigates male and females athletes that are currently engaged in one of the eight disciplines (hang gliding, mountaineering, sky diving, automobile racing, swimming, marathon running, aerobics and golf). Zuckerman 1984 defined sensation seeking as “the seeking of varied, novel, complex and intense sensations and experiences and the willingness to take physical, social, legal and financial risks for the sake of such experiences” a persons risks can determine how they perceive danger to an activity.

If they do a copious amount of high-risk activities the people believe that activity is not dangerous. Zuckerman in 83 classified sports for this study, in to categories of low, medium, and high risk. With low risks being sports as golf, marathon running and aerobics, medium risk sports as swimming and hang gliding, and high-risk sports as mountaineering, skydiving and automobile racing. The findings show that lower risks sports such as running, gymnastics and golf, were regarded as having a negative association related to sensation seeking, people who participate in these activities commonly known in having in low sensation seeking and to the opposite with sports such as shy diving and mountaineering they have a positive association related to sensation seeking, people who do these activities have a an high affinity for sensation seeking.

In conclusion to the study is that some people have a low affinity to sensation seeking, they like to feel comfortable and wanting to know every variable to do with an activity, its all about knowledge for them. But with people who have a high affinity for sensation seeking they want to push themselves to the ‘extreme’ go to the boundaries, many a time not knowing what can happen gives them the excitement they strive for.

Before a manager can interpretate and categorise risk, the manage must identify all the risks in the establishment, this is done by risk assessment.

Risk Assessment:

Risk assessment is the careful exanimation of what, in a leisure centre could cause harm to someone, including staff and consumers. So the centre can weigh up whether the precautions that they have in placed are sufficient or more needs doing to help in the safety of people. The aim of risk assessment is to make sure that no one gets hurt and becomes ill, accidents can affect a persons life, and also can affect a life of a business (leisure centre) the loss of output, damage to machinery, insurances costs go up and profit can be lost.

One of the most important things to do is to decide is whether a hazard is significant and that there is enough precautions, to cover if this risk is small. This needs to be determined when assessing risk, for instance the likelihood of someone drowning in a swimming pool is medium, but if the there is enough life guards the likelihood would decrease the probability of this happening.

According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) leaflet, they recommended five steps to risk assessment and they are:-

Step 1: Look for the hazards

Step 2: Decide who might be hurt or harmed and how

Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide whether the existing precautions are adequate or more needs to be done

Step 4: Record your findings

Step 5: Review your assessment and revise it if necessary

A precise estimate of risk is not always acceptable, in real life it can be very time consuming, and often there is not always enough data to do full risk assessment. There is a lot variety in methods to do with risk assessment, which range from descriptive quantitative data to loosely qualitative data. Any method chosen at some degree will be subjective and slightly flawed, but nevertheless it can be very useful in identify risks and show limitations of a area of working.

Using all the steps given by the HSE, doesn’t mean that all the accidents will stop occurring. The steps are useful but will not be as effective as using the steps and implementing all the health and safety procedures that the government determine. Managers job is difficult but the loss to the business is left on the managers shoulders , so its important to the manager to make sure they get their establishment safe, but they must not take away the enjoyment of an activity. Some activities are high in risk and people like them for the risk value; if things are made too safe people will stop participating in them.

Another important subject that should be taken into account in risk assessment is the ‘human’ .The behaviour of people at work has a strong effect on the cause of accidents and the precautions needed to prevent them. People are often less predictable than machines as we have a mind (unlike the matrix). According to One of the witnesses to the Cullen Inquiry (relating to the Ladbroke Grove rail crash in 1999) stated ‘…90% of all accidents in any company were likely to be due to deviations in behaviour rather than to functional failures…’ www.learning-hse.com 2004. Although measure and procedures can be put in place it doesn’t make a difference if the person does not follow them.


“Each year, more than 300 people die in workplace accidents and over 158,000 serious and other injuries occur. In addition, there are about 2.2 million people who suffer from ill-health caused by, or made worse by, work”. www.blaby.gov.uk/new/envhealth/2004

Health and Safety laws are in place to reduce the risks of certain incidents in leisure centres. Inspectors from local authorities and from central government’s, Health and Safety Executive, enforce the laws

Responsibility for the enforcement of health and safety legislation in the leisure industry is split between the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities. For most situations the local authorities are the enforcing authority. The exceptions are where they are the provider or they own or have an extent of control over the premises

Local Authorities are responsible for applying Health and Safety laws to – Offices, shops, catering premises (such as restaurants, hotels, cafes, etc.), leisure activities and warehouses.

Health and safety in the leisure industry is not covered by any one set of specific regulations. The regulations which most commonly apply are :-

* The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) which places a general duty on all employers to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of their employees, and others, are protected from the hazards of their work activity;

* The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 which require a risk assessment to be undertaken to identify the hazards and take any necessary steps to reduce the risk of an incident;

* The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which is very detailed regulation with many concepts ranging from easy access to fire escapes and no obstruction in corridors.

* The Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 1996, which require certain activities to be licensed if they are to be provided to persons under 18 years old. The types of activities that are covered by these regulations are detailed below

* The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 ( as Amended by the Health and safety (Miscellaneous amendments) Regulations 2002) Manual Handling Regulations.

* The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations

* The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulation 2002 (COSHH)


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