Developing a risk assessment model for practical application in the UK

TitleDeveloping a risk assessment model for practical application in the UK
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsDawes, P, Scott, T
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other Numbers02-06

The World Health Organisation offers the following advice in relation to the assessment of hazard and risk in its guidelines for safe recreational water environments (coastal and fresh waters):

‘Assessment of hazard and risk inform the development of polices for controlling and managing risks to health and well-being in water recreation.’

‘The assessment of a beach or water should take into account several key considerations, including:

  • the presence and nature of natural or artificial hazards;
  • the severity of the hazard as related to health outcomes;
  • the availability and applicability of remedial actions;
  • the frequency and density of use; and
  • the level of development.’

The programme implement considers the implementation of beach risk assessments / safety audits through a three step process that takes advantage of established scientific principles, established ‘best practice’ and benchmarking against the available standards and guides.

  • Science: One of the most highly accepted science based model for assessing beaches is the Australian Beach Safety and Management Program (ABSAMP). The RNLI is working with Plymouth University to modify the programme for use on UK beaches. The RNLI is working with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) to create a database of all UK beaches on which to record baseline information to assist the risk assessment process.
  • Best Practice: Appropriate best practice models already exist from a number of organisations, both for generic risk assessments and for beach risk assessments. The intent is to incorporate these best practice models into its program.
  • Benchmarking: As part of forming any recommendation reference to the available standards and guides ensures appropriate benchmarks are conformed with.
Learning Outcomes
  • To understand principles of risk assessments
  • To understand the scope of hazards in the beach and coastal environment
  • To understand what the RNLI, Plymouth University and partnering organisation are implementing in the UK to reduce drownings through the development of a risk assessment programme