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Health & Safety in Events

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Beth McDuff

on 14 March 2014

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Transcript of Health & Safety in Events

A school has banned the sack and three-legged races from its sports day in case children fell over and hurt themselves.
"We looked at a three-legged race and a sack race but we want to minimize the risk to the children, We thought we would be better to do hopping and running instead because there was less chance of them falling over."
The decision has been criticized by the Campaign Against Political Correctness. ‘It’s health and safety rules gone mad. I think it’s completely over the top; The worst thing that could possibly happen is the children fall over. They’re going to do that in any event, aren’t they?’
Hundreds of schools have banned ‘dangerous games’ in recent years amid fears of being sued.

Over crowding is a major health and safety hazard that is easily and often overlooked at both large and small scale events.
You Tube celebrity Tanya Burr tweeted out an open invitation to her fans to meet her in London, Covent Garden.
452,300 twitter followers
There was no form of risk assessment carried out – Tanya only had one member of security and her manager
Thousands of fans gathered generating a huge crowd and causing havoc amongst shoppers and passers by
In the end Tanya was whisked away after only meeting approximately 1 hundred of her thousand loyal fans causing mass upset
It is important when holding an event that crowding is considered; luckily there were no injuries caused during this mistake however Tanya caused a lot of upset amongst her fans many of which suffered panic attacks due to being pushed together. This could have easily been prevented by finding a venue with a maximum capacity rather than a popular public haunt as well as ticketing.

Health, Safety & Risk in Events
To ensure that no one is injured and the event organizer is not liable to pay damages to injured parties.

Why is health & Safety important?
What is Health & Safety?
Organized efforts and procedures for identifying workplace hazards and reducing accidents and exposure to harmful situations and substances. It also includes training of personnel in accident prevention, accident response, emergency preparedness, and use of protective clothing and equipment.
The duty of care is everyone’s obligation though it falls heavily on the shoulders of the event organiser. Duty of care ensures the health and safety of all employees, as well as the protection of non-employees from any risks arising out of their work activities. As it is a legal duty if any injury does occur at the event the individual may seek compensation, this could lead to the organiser being sued if they have breached their duty of care.
Duty of Care
Institutions and legal structures
It is of fundamental importance to appreciate
that planning for effective health and safety management should start at the same time as the planning for all other aspects of the proposed event

Key Elements of Successful
Health and Safety
creating a health and safety policy
planning to ensure the policy is put into practice
organizing an effective management structure and arrangements for delivery of the policy
monitoring health and safety performance

Health and Safety
preparation for an event
Identifying, eliminating and controlling hazards and risks
The amount of time that needs to be set aside for planning will be very much dependent upon the size, type and duration of the event.
6-9 months beforehand is not too early to start.

Main Health & Safety Hazards
Trailing Wires
Slips & Trips Hazard
Emergency Exists
Must be visible to everyone, cannot be covered up
Needs to run on a separate power source so if the main power source fails the exit signs will still be visible
First Aid
Trained first aider on site
Someone responsible to call 999 in the event of an emergency
Other factors:
Insufficient lighting
– people could fall over
Proper signage for exists -
Proper Ventilation
- stale air leaves the room
Slipping hazards

Noise at work regulations
– temporary hearing loss or permanent for workers
Contact Local authorities
(council) to find out about the venue and licensing

Institution of Occupational
Safety & Health
COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health)

Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)

Health and Safety at work act (1974)
Defines general duties of employers, contractors and suppliers: control, manage and maintenance in environment

Risk Assessment
Providing Information
Training & supervision for staff
Competent person in charge

The events safety guide
Health & Safety Executive 1999

Venue and site design
Fire safety
Major incident planning (emergency planning)
Electrical installations and lighting
Amusements, attractions and promotional displays
Sound: noise and vibration
Special effects, fireworks and pyrotechnics
Medical, ambulance and first-aid management
Unfenced or unticketed events

Main sources of hazards: Fire
Employers (and/or building owners or occupiers) must carry out a fire safety risk assessment and keep it up to date. Based on the findings of the assessment, employers need to ensure that adequate and appropriate fire safety measures are in place to minimize the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.

Minimising the risk of fire:
Carry out a fire safety risk assessment
Keep sources of ignition and flammable substances apart
Avoid accidental fires, eg make sure heaters cannot be knocked over
Ensure good housekeeping at all times, eg avoid build-up of rubbish that could burn
Consider how to detect fires and how to warn people quickly if they start, eg installing smoke alarms and fire alarms or bells
Have the correct fire-fighting equipment for putting a fire out quickly
Keep fire exits and escape routes clearly marked and unobstructed at all times
Ensure your workers receive appropriate training on procedures they need to follow, including fire drills
First aid, trained first aider, in event of an emergency who calls 999, who is responsible
Review and update your risk assessment regularly

Case Studies
Main sources of hazards: Overcrowding
Event organizers are responsible for crowd control and management at their event
Controlling access to the event to prevent overcrowding
Ensuring that audience members are not standing or sitting in aisles or exit ways
Facilitating evacuation of the venue in the event of an emergency
Immediately prior to the start of any event in a venue holding more than 49 people, an announcement must be made to notify occupants of the location of exits to be used in the case of a fire or other emergency and advising occupants that if the fire alarm sounds they must evacuate from the building.

How to control crowding
• For events that are expected to fill a venue, the use of entry tickets to track attendance is strongly encouraged.
• Free tickets or programs in a quantity equal to the available seating can be handed out at the door (remember to remove tickets to account for ushers, performers that will be sitting in the audience, etc.).
• When the entry tickets/programs are gone the ushers must close the venue doors and turn people away.
• Handheld counters may also be used as a control device.
• Overcrowding violations may result in cancellation of the event and/or disciplinary action.
Hillsborough Disaster
Tanya Burr
Kiss Nightclub Brazil
Background info what caused the fire
No alarm, sprinkler system, only one working exit
50 of the victims were found in the club's two bathrooms where blinding smoke caused them to believe the doors were exits.
Police investigator Arigony: "people headed to the bathrooms because the only lights in the dark club were coming from there, and the patrons mistook them for exits"
234 people died as a result of the fire

“On 15 April 1989, 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death and hundreds more injured”
The main cause was of the disaster was failure of police crowd control

What was the cause:
Pens 3 and 4 had a combined capacity of 2200, however it should have been reduced to 1600 as the crush barriers that were installed three years earlier did not meet the official safety standards. However the huge turn out of fan s and poor crowd management control resulted in more than 3000 supporters being admitted to these two pens, almost double the ‘safety’ capacity. Ultimately leading to sever crushing and the death of 96 fans.
Improvements since
Since the disasters all crush barriers have been removed from stadiums
Stadiums have been made so that all fans are seated and no one stands
Crowd control has become a lot more efficient with ticket barriers being introduced and seat allocation

What happened?
Main sources of hazards: Weather
Weather Hazards – Isle of Wight festival
At last years Isle of Wight festival hundreds of revellers had to sleep in their cars overnight after traffic became gridlocked when the festival car park turned into a mudbath caused by heavy rains.
The queues caused ferry companies to suspend their services and about 600 people were stranded on the Solent as the boats could not be disembarked because of traffic build-up on the island.
The natural disaster not only impacted on festival goers, with many of them giving up and turning back after waiting hours on end in still traffic jams, the impacts were also felt by the event organisers as they suffered serious financial losses as well as a tarnished reputation.
"I'm so upset. It's a complete disaster. On the island it has been a nightmare. There is no police, no diversion signs, nothing. "Now we're about two miles away on a country lane and we have moved one mile in the last four hours.“ – Festival attendee

Definition of risk
‘Risk can be defined as the combination of the probability of a risk occurring at an event and its consequence’

(The Institute of Risk Management, 2002)
‘A risk is some thing that might happen in the future that will result in an adverse effect.’ (Tum
et al
, 2006)
Risk takes into account scale, consequences, frequency, duration, extent, probability of occurrence, and time range.

Categories of risk
– regular, routine, often indoors with no unusual activities

– large indoor events with more complicated activities or outdoor locations with less complex activities

– large numbers of people – activities may constitute a danger

Tough Guy Challenge
Risk identification
Risk identification is the process of identifying all situations or actions that could give rise to the potential for loss, injury or illness.
The main risk areas to watch for in event management are:

Administration – staff, finances and accounting, contracts, liability and negligence, permits and licences, agreements with local councils and government agencies
Marketing and public relations – media coverage, productions crews, sponsorship and sponsors
Health and safety – fireworks and pyrotechnics, medical services, fire safety, sanitation and maintenance, animals, decorations and equipment
Crowd management – crowd movement, seating, alcohol sales and consumption, use of illegal drugs, noise control, services for people with disabilities and seniors, lost and found
Security – policing, hiring and briefing private security, crowd control, arrests, riots, anti–social behaviour, incident reporting, evacuation procedures
Transport – parking, public transport, traffic control.

A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, at your event, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent the likelihood that someone could get hurt or become ill.
Risk identifying techniques
Work breakdown structure
Test events
Internal/external (SWOT)
Fault diagram
Incident reports
Contingency plan
Scenario development/tabletop exercises
Cause and effect
Documentation reviews
Risk assessment meetings

Assessing the risk associated with staging an event
Has Health & Safety 'Gone Mad'?
Impacts of risk managed improperly

Problems with personal health and injuries
Matters of money (financial losses)
Marketing (tarnished image, loss of demand)
Lawsuits for negligence
Negative political impacts

Sound and noise vibration
High sound levels present a risk to hearing, both for those working at an event and for the audience. High levels of vibration can have serious consequences for the integrity of temporary and permanent structures. Both sound and vibration can lead to noise nuisance outside the venue. Therefore, proper control and management of sound and vibration levels is needed both in rehearsal and during the event. 

Noise at Work Regulations (2005)
If noise exposure is to reach 85 dB employers must:
Provide workers with information ensure that a noise assessment is made by a competent person;
Provide workers with information and training;
Provide ear protection for all workers who request it.

If noise exposure is likely to reach the second action level of Lep,d of 90 dB or the peak action level of 200 pascals (140 dB), employers must:
Ensure that a noise assessment is made by a competent person
Provide workers with information and training;
Reduce exposure as far as is reasonably practicable by reducing sound levels or the time exposed to the noise
Provide ear protection to all workers - mark ear protection zones and make sure that everyone who goes into them uses ear protection
A woman trying to host a Royal wedding street party has been told she must take out £5million in public liability insurance.
Other instructions included an order than bunting could not be strung any lower than 16ft 6in high because of health and safety risks.
The Prime Minister, furious at some local authorities making it difficult, told people to ignore the bureaucracy and start organizing. He stressed that the only approval needed is permission to close a road and demanded that councils 'don't interfere'.

"I am pretty certain most councils will want to shove aside any unnecessary red tape and get people celebrating."

Although Health and safety is a necessary component to consider when planning an event, in some circumstances as seen above health and safety has been taken to far, resulting in fun elements being taken away.
In such low risk events there is no competitive advantage.
Health, Safety & Risk Quiz
Unlike fire and crowding hazards which can be controlled, weather is unpredictable, however as an event manager you should still be able to take some precautions in order to help minimize the impact that weather could have on your event.

Public Liability
This type of insurance covers a customer or member of the public if they were to suffer a loss or injury at an event and made a claim for compensation.
The insurance would cover the compensation payment plus any legal expenses, and so would not put the event at an financial loss.
Why is public liability cover a good thing for customers?

Accidents still happen...

possessions replaced
medical costs payed for
What is Health and Safety?
What does this sign mean?
What does IOSH stand for?
When was the Health and Safety at work act introduced?
Name two ways to minimize the risk of fire?
What are the two ways you can control crowding?
Why is public liability insurance important to an events manager?
What is the definition of risk?
What would be considered a high risk event and why?
What are two risk identifying techniques?
What is step four in risk staging process?
Noise exposure must reach what level for an event manager to have to take action?
Resilience and flexibility are already built into the outdoor
events industry, but can more be done to manage associated business risks and uncertainty in the
face of unpredictable weather?

To answer this question Julie’s Bicycle has scoped the impacts of 2012 weather for our festivals –
how outdoor events were affected by the weather; what they did in preparation; and what impact
this summer’s weather conditions might have on next year’s planning
Bacon, J. 1999. The Event Safety Guide. [online] Second Edition Surrey: Crown.
Bleeblo, 2008. Tough Guy ESPN Review [Video, online]. Available from: [Accessed November 2013].
Chikorita News, 2013. Brazil Nightclub Fire Highlights Safety Concerns [video, online]. Available from: [Accessed 21 November 2013].
Cornwell University, 2010. Event Crowd Management Guidance Document. [pdf] Available at: http://www.ehs.cornell.edu/file/EventCrowdManagement.pdf [Accessed 21 November 2013].
Daily Mail Reporter, 2011. ‘Royal Wedding Street Party? You’ll need £5m insurance, love…’ [online]. Mail Online. Available from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1376039/Host-Royal-wedding-street-party-told-public-liability-insurance-worth-5m.html [Accessed 21 November 2013].
Deen, S, 2012. ‘Isle of Wight festival 2012 blighted by flooding as Red Cross called to scene’ [online]. Metro Entertainment. Available from: http://metro.co.uk/2012/06/22/isle-of-wight-festival-2012-blighted-by-traffic-jams-and-flooding-476830/ [Accessed November 21 2013].
Erwin, M, 2008. Three-legged race is given the sack [online]. Metro News. Available from: http://metro.co.uk/2008/07/13/three-legged-race-is-given-the-sack-269622/ [Accessed 21 November 2013].
Forest of Dean District Council, 2013. A Guide to Organising Health and Safety and Food at Small and Medium Events. [pdf]. Available at: http://www.fdean.gov.uk/media/Assets/PestControl-FoodSafety/documents/Licensing/Organising_Health_and_Food_Safety_at_Small_and_Medium_Events.pdf [Accessed 21 November 2013].
IOSH, 2013. The heart of health and safety. [online] Available from: http://www.iosh.co.uk/ [Accessed 21 November 2013].
Julies Bicycle, 2012. The Impact of Weather on Outdoor Events 2012 [online]. Bath: Mud. Available from: http://www.juliesbicycle.com/media/downloads/Weather-survey-findings-and-recommendations-dec-2012.pdf [Accessed 21 November 2013].
Marsden, S, 2012. ‘Isle of Wight Festival-goers who gave up and went home to get refund’ [online]. The Telegraph. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/music-festivals/9349374/Isle-of-Wight-Festival-goers-who-gave-up-and-went-home-to-get-refund.html [Accessed November 21 2013].
Nikki Newman, 2010. Hillsborough Disaster Video – Capture Project [Video, online]. Available from: [Accessed November 2013].
Plymouth Events Safety Group, 2010. Public Event Safety Guidance for Organisers. [pdf] Available at: http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/event_safety_guidance.pdf [Accessed 21 November 2013].
Rehka Manoj, 2012. Weather woes as events hit by stormy weather [Video, online]. Available from: [Accessed 21 November 2013].
Sky News, 2013. Brazil Nightclub Fire: Security ‘Blocked Exit’ [online]. Sky News World. Available from: http://news.sky.com/story/1043674/brazil-nightclub-fire-security-blocked-exit [Accessed 21 November 2013].
University of Essex, 2012. ‘Organising Events Safely’ [online] Colchester: University of Essex. Available from: http://www.essex.ac.uk/ohsas/events/ [Accessed 21 November 2013].
University of Reading, 2012. ‘Health and Safety: Risk Assessment Forms’ [online] Reading: University of Reading. Available from: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/events-guide/planning-and-logisitics/evtg-health-and-safety.aspx [Accessed 21 November 2013].
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