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Developing and reviewing your RAM form

New to developing Risk Analysis Management (RAM) forms? Read this article to find out more.
A printed form inside a folder, with a sticky label stating ‘sign here’.

Many schools will ask you for your RAM forms when they book a visit. This article will help you develop or review these forms for your context.

What is a RAM form?

Visiting schools will often ask you for RAM form which is short for Risk Analysis/Assessment and Management. Schools use these as part of their Health and Safety Plan for their trip. While schools can write their own forms based on their knowledge of their students’ needs, you usually have a better understanding of the hazards at your site. Once you have completed site specific RAM forms, you just need to review and update them as required, and share them with visiting teachers – saving them a lot of time.

How do I develop a RAM form?

For a RAM form, you identify the hazards (anything that can cause harm to people, including behaviours that lead to harm) in your context. Some of these will be obvious to you, such as traffic by your entrance, steep or uneven pathways, weather events, slippery floors when wet etc.

Depending on your experience in working with children, you will identify child-specific hazards, or you might call on the help of others: Ask your colleagues, observe families or groups with children, check with your local teachers or your teacher advisory group. These might be physical (such as a lack of suitable barriers by water features and waterways), emotional (dark spaces or loud noises can startle children), or behavioural (children are curious and like exploring spaces that adults might not see or think of).

For each hazard, identify the risk involved: To use an earlier example, the risk from a paper cut is insignificant, while an earthquake might have a catastrophic impact. (Please note: This classification can be quite subjective, so you might want to discuss it with colleagues and come to an agreement).

What harm might the hazard cause in your context? For this, you list all the possible injuries or incidents that might happen as a result of the hazard; for example, in extreme weather, a student could slip and fall, or they might develop hypothermia. You might want to include the likelihood of this harm occurring which will look different depending on context: The likelihood of harm from a tsunami is higher in a coastal area than inland.

Your controls are the measures you put in place to either eliminate the risk or to minimise it. For example you can’t change extreme weather, but you could eliminate the risk of exposure to it by postponing the visit. You could also minimise the risk by modifying your programme (maybe a change of venue) and by requiring the teacher to ensure that everyone brings protective clothing.

Even with the best controls, you will not avoid all incidents and all harm: Make a list of the immediate actions you will take should harm occur, such as providing First Aid in case of minor injury, or following evacuation procedures in case of fire.

At the bottom of this article, under Downloads, you find a possible template you can adapt and use.

Review of RAM forms

Your organisations’ Health and Safety Systems will be reviewed regularly (usually yearly, or when a major health and safety event occurs). Your RAM form should also be reviewed at regular intervals, especially when your environment changes or when you change your programmes significantly.

Sharing RAM forms with schools

Most but not all schools will ask for these forms. While many teachers will use the printed version for their purposes, it is usually easiest if you make them available electronically, through your website or through a link to cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive or similar).

Over to you

What are your experiences with Risk Assessment and Management? We know health and safety is no laughing matter, but maybe you have some amusing or funny episodes to share, and what you learnt from these? Use the comments below to share your experiences.

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