Event Health and Safety: a must do – not a might do!
Events often form a key part of organisational marketing strategies. They are a great way to acquire and retain customers. Event planners are therefore under pressure to deliver great experiences and to make a lasting impression…for all the right reasons! Organising events that meet and exceed all the current event health and safety requirements is part of the deal.
Event planners also have an absolute ‘duty of care’ to all those who attend or work at their events. This ‘duty of care’ applies to all types and sizes of events. Event health and Safety is a must do not a might do. It tends to follow suit that the bigger your event: the more plans and assessments you will be required to create.
For those tasked with organizing events you need to take all reasonable steps to prevent anyone getting harmed at your events. The key point in relation to event health and safety is that you are able to demonstrate that you have indeed, taken all necessary steps. The paperwork matters, as does knowing that you have actually implemented everything you said you would.
So, how might it work. You have been given an event to organise. It is essential at this point you understand what your health and safety responsibilities are during the event planning and delivery stages. You’ll need an understanding of your legal duties, as well as, any relevant legislation and Approved Codes of Practice: in other words, event industry standards you should be following.
In essence there are two main elements to event health and safety planning. The first one is an absolute need to write an ‘event risk assessment’: identifying hazards and risks (Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999). This means making a careful examination of what at your event could cause harm. Event managers are therefore looking to identify hazards: anything which has the potential to cause harm to people and the Risk: likelihood that the harm from the hazard is realised and the extent there of.
The second requirement as your events get bigger in scale and complexity is to produce an Event Management Plan (Event health and safety document). The plan can be several pages long or hundreds for a major event, attended by thousands. The aim of the plan is show how you intend to protect the health, safety and welfare of those people attending your event as well as employees, contractors and sub-contractors working at the event.
The plan allows you to explain why your event is best suited to take place at the chosen venue. In other words, it’s the right type of event to take place in that style of venue. Crucially, the plan explains how you are going to manage the event and what services you therefore need to provide. Examples of things you would include: are numbers of staff and their roles: security procedures: audience management plan: accessibility: internal and external event communications: medical and first aid provision…to name but a few!
The other key part of the plan includes your assessment of how you intend to manage certain circumstances e.g. a fire, medical emergency, a suspicious package or crowd disturbance. Again, precise plans need to be worked through and added to the overall plan.
Events are very complex entities – delivered in ‘one’ take. Event planners’ responsibilities are many: ensuring they deliver a safe event is a must do activity. It does require the writing of risk assessment and event management plans – with the latter often informing the content of your risk assessment. These documents will demonstrate that you have done everything you can to deal with all reasonable, foreseeable and significant hazards and so keep visitors and those working at your event safe from harm.
Every event manager wants to ensure their events are remembered for all the right reasons. Are your event risk assessment and Event management plans up to scratch: are they good enough – fit for purpose?
If you want to learn how to create successful and safe events then check out my Event Health and Safety Courses – the ‘how to’ of event safety. These bespoke courses have been delivered to clients from education, business, travel, food, the public sector, charity, arts and sports events.