Improving Safety When Managing Events
An event organiser is mandated with the responsibility of all health and safety risks are managed for all the attendees including the members of the public, the staff, volunteers, and contractors. While this might not seem like much of a challenge on an empty venue, it becomes a major one as soon the crowd fills it up. Unfortunately, event contractors spend more time thinking of how they will react to an incident, rather than thinking of how to avoid it in the first place. Failure to plan and foresee potential safety risks often leads to avoidable injuries or even deaths, financial losses, and damage to the event contractor’s reputation. We discuss some of the challenges event contractors face and how to mitigate them
STEP 1: IDENTIFYING SAFETY HAZARDS
In the planning phase, a contractor should list down all the possible safety hazards some of which could include:-
- Equipment hazards or trips – are there electrical equipment that the attendees or crew could bump into? Is there a possibility of electric equipment getting wet and posing a safety risk? Are there electric cables that anyone could trip over? Are there overhead power lines or buried amenities that you might interfere with?
- Weather hazards – event contractors need to anticipate changing weather conditions. For instance, you need to assess the stability of your structure should it become extremely windy. In case it rains during the event, will the ground become slippery and, therefore, pose a safety risk? Could the equipment being used become overheated or get wet should the weather change?
- Crowd management – the larger the crowd, the higher the chances of something going wrong. You need to prepare for safety hazards such as overcrowding, aggressive or drunken behaviour, safety risks around the car parks or nearby roads, and so on.
- Catering hazards – according to UK Government statistics, about 20% of the entire population suffers from gastroenteritis symptoms/illnesses each year. Event contractors need to ensure that the containers used for foods and drinks are suitable. You also need to know how food allergies will be handled. Plan on how food or drink spillages will be cleaned up to ascertain that people do not slip.
- Child protection – if there will be minors in the event, you need to know whether there is a possibility of them getting lost or whether there could be allegations of neglect or abuse.
- Fire hazards – do equipment such as stoves, ovens, barbeques and the likes pose any fire risk? How will you control smoking onsite? Is there a possibility of a fire due to electrical faults?
STEP 2: ASSESSING THE RISKS
This step will help you evaluate how severe the safety hazard is and identify the measures you will take to mitigate them. Assessing risks need not be a complex process. Rather, it could be something as simple as discussing them with your crew or making use of risk assessment tools that are recommended by safety professionals.
STEP 3: MANAGING THE RISKS
When managing risks you need to consider several options and select one that will either eliminate the hazard or minimise the risk. While some instances call for a single control measure, others call for a combination of various controls that when brought together, will provide the highest level of protection. Some of the ways through which you can manage risks include:-
- Reducing crowd density
While the budget could constrain you to go for a smaller venue, keep in mind that security challenges are higher in a densely populated event. A larger space will help your spread the audience and effectively reduce the risk level.
Your crew needs to be well versed on how to manage a crowd and exert authority if the need arises. They also need to know how to effectively manage the crowd by monitoring registration lines, ensuring that visitors do not stray into areas they are prohibited from, making sure that the exits are not blocked, and keeping tabs on the number of visitors so that they do not go beyond the predetermined capacity.
- Discourage substance abuse among the crew
Come up with drug and alcohol policies that will discourage your crew from substance use when they are on the job. Apart from reducing the risk of drug-related employees from your patrons, this will reduce that chances of liability claims.
- Ensure that everyone you sub-contract is pre-qualified for safety
Make sure that you review the safety performance of each sub-contractor before procuring their services or goods. Going the extra mile to conduct an audit of their safety management systems and procedures would be ideal.
- Emphasise on accountability on each level
Your crew need to be held accountable for the enforced safety rules and procedures. Make them aware of the consequences they could face if they overlook any safety precaution.
- Review each incident or near misses
Doing this will help you determine their root cause. This will help improve safety procedures and avert future incidents.
- Crew training through Induct for Work
All the above boil down to training your crew. While this may be achieved through organising for seminars and involving an expert to mentor your crew, it makes more sense to organise for online training through platforms such as Induct for Work.
The platform enables you provide pertinent information such as job descriptions, equipment manuals, and safety policies and procedures. Training your crew helps them know what they need to do in case of an emergency. It also makes them aware of their duties and safety responsibilities. This will ultimately lead to successful events and a sustained brand reputation. Through the platform, you can create simulations on how each person should react in the event of an incident.
Induct for Work allows you to upload your training material safety procedures as well as create new content. You will be able to set up tests for your crew and send links inviting your crew to undertake the training.