In-person events are popping back up on our calendars thanks to the easing of pandemic restrictions, but managing the health and safety measures will be a greater task than ever.
Health and safety should always be at the forefront of event management. Planning emergency strategies and taking all necessary steps to protect attendees and event staff from harm is part of the job.
Since the pandemic, event health and safety measures have never been more in the spotlight. Crowd management product specialists, Todoos, says, “With the threat of Covid transmission still at the forefront of everyone’s minds, taking all the necessary steps to ensure superior crowd control at a venue is essential as we return to live events.”
As well as ensuring that you adhere to all relevant regulations, a health and safety policy must be written down if you have five or more employees. To assist in planning an event with good health and safety measures, here are some of the main factors to consider.
Once you have a clear vision of how your event will run, you can visit potential venues to assess their suitability.
Questions to consider include:
- Access – Is the access to the site sufficient to accommodate the number of vehicles and attendees you are expecting? Does the venue accommodate easy access for those with disabilities, wheelchairs, or prams? Are there sufficient emergency exits?
- Capacity – Is there sufficient room to safely accommodate your attendees? Will the venue capacity allow for social distancing measures? Will attendees be seated or standing? Is there any risk of overcrowding in pinch points that will take additional management?
- Facilities – How close is the nearest hospital and fire station? How efficient are the public transport links?
- Hazards – Are there any existing hazards at the venue, like overhead power lines? Is the site prone to flooding? Consider the topography of a site when planning on erecting any temporary structures for your event
When you decide on the right venue, draft a site plan that clearly outlines entrances, exits, emergency meeting points, fence lines, facilities, and any other pertinent information. A comprehensive site map will assist the event staff, suppliers, and contractors in preparing and running the event.
Risk assessing the event
Next, it’s time to consider any potential safety risks and rate them according to their level of risk.
Hazards to consider may include:
Crowd management hazards
Is there a risk of overcrowding or crushing? Are there any significant pedestrian risks around the car parks or adjacent roads? How will drunken or aggressive behaviour be handled?
Equipment and trip hazards
Are there any loose cables that could pose a trip hazard? Will any electrical equipment or generators be accessible to the public?
Will staff be doing any heavy lifting? Have they all received the necessary health and safety training?
Are there any risks of injury as a consequence of your event? If so, what are they, and how will they be handled? What emergency plans are in place to respond to an urgent health concern?
Will campers use stoves or barbecues? What are the risks of an electrical fire? How will smoking be controlled onsite and inside the venue? Where are the fire extinguishers located, and are there enough?
Weather and environmental hazards
Could strong winds compromise temporary structures? Could ground surfaces become slippery when wet? What are the risks of the event causing damage to the site or venue? How will rubbish be managed?
How will food-related allergies and intolerances be managed? Could cooking appliances or hot water urns pose a burning risk?
How will you ensure that only authorised ticket-holders can access the venue? How can you run bag checks to prevent security or terrorism threats?
What is the risk of disease transmission, and how can you mitigate these risks? Can the venue cater for social distancing measures given its capacity?
It is advisable to work with a team to consider potential hazards and how to mitigate them, as one member may notice something that you could otherwise miss.
Develop an emergency plan
It is vital to create a workable emergency plan that all staff understand. Factors to consider include:
- How you will raise an alarm
- How you will inform the public
- What the critical onsite emergency response steps are
- How you will contact and liaise with emergency services
- How you will manage the crowd, and what the evacuation procedure will be
- How you will manage the traffic
- Ensuring that there are adequate medical provisions onsite
Focusing on putting comprehensive health and safety plans into place will help to ensure that your staff, contractors, and attendees remain safe during your event.
The plans you create must span the entire event to include set-up and clear-up afterwards. Create checklists to monitor risks as your event runs and clearly nominate staff members to attend to critical concerns.