OUHRS Risk Assessment


All activities will be carried out in accordance with the OUHRS Code of Conduct.

This assessment is made following 25+ years of re-enactment experiences, the controls being the result of tested methods.

Definitions for the purposes of this document;

  • An authorised person is defined as a full member of OUHRS acting as directed by an officer of the society.
  • A competent person is defined as a person who has completed a course of training recognised by OUHRS and satisfied the appropriate officers of the society that they can safely perform the task identified.


Hazard Risk Severity/
Controls Action Required Final Risk
Blunt Display Weapons
  • Unauthorised Use
  • Personal Injury [public]
  • Third Party Injury [public]
  • Area to be supervised at all times by competent person.
  • Authorised persons to remain in immediate vicinity.
  • Items to be appropriately stored when not in use.
  • Equipment to be used by competent, authorised persons only.
  • When showing to public, close supervision is to be provided to ensure the article is not misused.


Display Combat
  • Personal injury
  • All weapons are made to national safety standards
  • All weapons used have safety edges / features to minimize likelihood and severity of injury
  • Steel helmets are worn during all combat
  • Suitable gloves are worn during all combat
  • Extensive supervised training is given before progressing to ‘free fight’ using proven training methods.
  • All shots used are controlled for strength and target area.
  • All weapons must be inspected before use. Sharp damage or excessive wear to handles etc must be made safe before use
  • All combatants are to be monitored for safety and any violations of the safety rules are to be immediately corrected and retraining considered.
  • Any person causing two injuries requiring first aid, within one term is to be reassessed for skill level
Accidental injury
  • Uncontrolled shots
  • Head injuries
  • Heavy shots leading to fractures
  • All combatants are trained in controlling the weight of shots
  • Only shots to legitimate target areas [body, arms, legs] are permitted
  • Steel helmets are worn during all combat
  • Gloves worn during combat
  • Heavy shots are reported and corrected
  • Continuous training and informal assessment corrects minor faults
  • Committee members to provide a culture of continuous improvement and assessment.
  • All reports of unsafe practices to be investigated and corrected if warranted
  • Records of all accidents to be kept and trends sought and corrected.
Arena Combat Displays
  • Personal Injury [combatant / public]
  • Only competent, authorised persons are permitted within the limit of Inner barrier, to take part in the display.
  • Display will be halted at the call of any combatant or other competent person [the call will be “Hold”, “Stop”, or similar]
  • Combat displays are only permitted within the inner boundary of a twin-taped arena. Space of tapes to be 2 metres minimum
  • All potential combatants must undergo full safety training in the use of any weapon they use in combat
  • Combatant participants to use Personal Protective Equipment as prescribed by OUHRS Health & Safety Rules.
Arena Combat Practice
  • Open access – personal injury to public
  • Loss of control of hand weapons – personal injury to combatants
  • Loss of Control of shield – personal injury to combatants or public
  • Only authorised persons are permitted to take part in the display.
  • Combatant participants to use Personal Protective Equipment as prescribed by OUHRS Health & Safety Rules.
  • All weapons to be inspected before use. Loose handles, badly worn handles, etc must be repaired before use.
  • Combat practice is only to take place in good space. If non-combatants approach the immediate vicinity, all fighting must cease.
  • Arrow shaft protruding through rubber safety blunt - Serious personal injury [combatants]
  • Every archer must inspect all arrows to be used, before using them in combat. Even minor damage will lead to the arrow being withdrawn from use or the blunt being replaced.
  • Low poundage bows and heavy arrows are used, to limit consequence of mistakes.
  • Battle Captain to ensure all archers inspect arrows before each combat session.
  • Arrow breaking in bow - Personal injury [archer]
  • Every archer must inspect all arrows to be used, before using them in combat. Even minor damage will lead to the arrow being withdrawn from use.
  • Battle Captain to ensure all archers inspect arrows before each combat session.
  • Missiles leaving the arena – personal injury [combatants / public]
  • Arena is to be constructed with at least one side clear of audience towards which missiles are loosed. Low poundage bows and heavy arrows are used, to limit arrow travel.
  • If no side can be kept clear, distance can be used to achieve safety. If neither is possible, archery can not be used.
  • Battle Captain to ensure all archers know the limitation of direction of shots
  • Extremes of weather can cause control problems or personal injury
  • Steel weaponry and helmets should not be used during thunder storms due to risk of lightning
  • Combat should be halted if conditions underfoot become too slippery
  • In hot weather, extra drinking water will be required
  • Committee Members to take a view on weather conditions
Strenuous activity
  • Dehydration of Participants -personal health problems
  • Muscle injury unless warm-up is used
  • Combatants to be aware of symptoms [headache, energy loss, nausea, etc] and necessary actions.
  • Water to be available, and combatants to be made aware of necessity to drink enough water.
  • Battle Captain to ensure a gentle warm up and warm down session is offered
  • Traffic Accident due to driver error - personal injury
  • Only qualified drivers meeting Oxford University requirements may be allowed to act as driver.
  • Drivers to conduct a controlled brake test when fully loaded to acquaint themselves with stopping distances and handling
  • Drivers are to abstain from alcohol for 12 hours before driving.
  • Drivers must take advice regarding any medication being taken.
  • Drivers should not drive for longer than 2 hours without 20 minute break, rotating between drivers is preferable
  • Committee Members are to ensure that no passenger distracts the driver
  • Committee Members are to exclude anyone who endangers vehicle or persons through misbehaviour
  • Committee Members to check weather forecast and consider curtailment of trip if necessary.
  • Traffic Accident due to mechanical fault - personal injury
  • Only reputable hire companies to be used to provide transport
  • Driver to conduct basic check of lights, brakes, and fluids. Drivers are to refuse to take a vehicle in an obvious state of disrepair
  • Traffic Accident due to adverse weather conditions - personal injury
  • Should extremes of weather be encountered, consideration should be made of stopping in a safe place [e.g. service area] to wait for weather to pass.
Medical Emergency
  • Known problems e.g. Asthma attack
  • Previously unknown problems
  • Previously undeclared problems
  • Fully charged mobile phone to be available at all gatherings
  • If away from road access, escort for ambulance crew to be provided.
  • For known problems, First Aider to seek advice of member regarding medication and how to deliver medication [e.g. Adrenalin Pens]
  • Membership forms to include requirement that medical conditions be declared to the First Aider, under strict terms of confidentiality.
Public Disruption
  • Drunk passers-by
  • People throwing things
  • Battle Captain to call a halt to all combat, weapons to be massed and covered from sight
  • Only gentle efforts [verbal persuasion] to move the person on should be used.
  • In extended confrontation, practice will be abandoned
  • If confrontation becomes or heads towards physical, Police to be called
  • All members to be informed of protocol and to be supported during any such incident
Attack by Dog
  • Public ground is used sometimes
  • Dog attacking shield, spear, arrows
  • Nothing to antagonise dog or owner should be done
  • Owner should be asked to retrieve item from dog to avoid bite risk
  • All members to be informed of protocol


  • Combat should only be open to persons over 18 years old, or fully matriculated members of the University.
  • All combatants are to be made aware of the Safety Rules before participation.
  • No person will enter into combat or sparring without full, appropriate, safety equipment being properly worn.
  • Some medical conditions preclude this type of activity, combatants should be made aware of the need to refer to a medical practitioner if they have any ailment or condition which may preclude physical exertion or accurate control of heavy objects.
  • At times that hand to hand combat is underway, a suitably equipped First Aid kit is to be available. A Qualified First Aider is to be in attendance if inexperienced people are to train.
  • A fully-charged mobile phone should be available at every combat practice / display.
  • An Accident Record Book should be kept with the first aid kit.
  • The Quarter Master should keep a log of equipment and inspections. Repairs should be noted.
  • Any combatant must be permitted to inspect any weapon and make objection to its use if dissatisfied with its condition.
  • At no time must weapons be left unattended, a child with a blunt steel sword is at danger.
  • For every combat display or practice, a single Battle Captain should be appointed. This person has special duties under this assessment and must discharge those duties with competence.
  • The Battle Captain will have the overall authority for the combat conditions and must therefore be able to command respect.

    Assessed by: Mark Talbot, 15th February 2004
    Approved by:
    Review Due: February 2005