Risk Assessment


The Guide to Safe Scouting asks us to assess risks for activities that are not covered by the BSA program.

This begs the question: How do I assess risks?


The BSA National Health and Safety Committee has developed the following tools to help assess risks in Scouting:

  • The enterprise analysis tool (see link below) is primarily used to record, assess, and manage councilwide risks. The risks identified using this tool should be serious enough to jeopardize council operations. This tool may cover many areas, such as financial, legal, or liability risks.
  • Program hazard analysis is used mainly for program areas within camps or high-adventure bases. It covers specific risks to the program areas. This tool has a defined way of assessing probability and severity of risks.
  • Safety checklists are used for small events or campouts. Checklists provide a body of knowledge for running Scouting activities safely. Like an airline pilot reviewing a checklist before takeoff, these tools help to make sure critical safeguards are in place for a specific Scouting activity.
  • The Safety PAUSE (Pause, Assess, Understand, Share, and Execute) process stresses the importance of a last-minute safety check in the field. By encouraging each Scout or adult leader to pause and reflect on the tasks at hand just before beginning, you have an opportunity to take necessary precautions to prevent any present or potential hazards. This is not a stand-alone tool. A formal risk assessment should be done first, such as a safety checklist or a program hazard analysis (PHA).
  • You can reference the Enterprise Risk Management Committee Guidebook to learn exactly how to use these tools. Reach out to Scouters in your units or councils with backgrounds in risk management or safety. Doing risk assessments is likely part of their everyday routine. With their know-how and these tools, risk assessing can be easily accomplished.