Event organisers must shoulder a significant burden, not only for the success of the event and fundraising but also the prime responsibility for ensuring overall health and safety at their events.
That means they are inevitably culpable for any event-related health and safety failings, which is why structured risk assessment and adequate Community or Charity Event Insurance is absolutely vital.
This weighty responsibility can wear down those not prepared to bear it. As an event organiser, how can you effectively do your job while dealing with the worrying fact that you will be accountable for health and safety slip-ups?
Simple—you can keep employees, contractors and members of the public safe at your event by following some easy-to-adopt guidance.
#1 Planning The Event
When initiating the event planning process, remember to keep the level of detail in your planning proportionate to your event’s scale and degree of risk.
Establishing such limits early on will help you avoid overlooking important health and safety hazards or bogging yourself down in unimportant minutiae.
Next, choose a dedicated team to assist in your various duties. Assess your strengths and weaknesses and cherry-pick a team that can provide support in the areas where you feel weakest.
Once you assemble your team, make sure there is a clear understanding of who will be responsible for what. Good communication from the start tends to last throughout the whole planning process.
Defer to your organisation’s health and safety policy for help assigning health and safety responsibilities to your teammates. Most organisations always assign certain positions the same health and safety responsibilities to ensure consistency.
Only after everyone in your team understands their general health and safety responsibilities can you begin writing the event’s safety plan, which identifies what resources and facilities you will need to uphold health and safety regulations.
Safety plans work using the logic of ‘risk assessments’, or assessing the workspace and work-related activities to identify and prevent all risks associated with your job.
To write your event’s safety plan, you will need the following information:
- The scale, type and scope of the event
- The type and size of the audience
- The event’s location
- The event’s duration
- The time of day and year the event will be held
As you write the safety plan, be sure to involve your employees, other workers and any stakeholders such as the venue owner or the local authority.
Widespread involvement and cooperation can help you spot hazards you missed and guarantee that everyone on-site is on the same page.
The information contained in your safety plan will be the baseline for determining what workplace facilities you need (such as first-aid, washing, toilet, eating, rest and changing facilities) to minimise risks and ensure the well-being of on-site workers.
#2 Planning for Incidents and Emergencies
One of your most important responsibilities is establishing emergency response plans. Without writing concrete plans to follow in an emergency, you risk endangering every single person at your event.
Using the information gleaned from your safety plan, develop procedures for specific emergencies, such as fire, structural failure or severe weather.
The more specific your emergency plans, the better. Enlisting the help of the police and fire and rescue services can help confirm that your emergency plans are appropriate and safe.
Your emergency plans should outline how to accomplish the requirements listed below:
- Get people away from immediate danger.
- Summon and assist emergency services.
- Handle both severe and non-life-threatening casualties.
- Deal with the displaced and non-injured, such as attendees at a festival with camping.
- Liaise with emergency services and other authorities.
- Protect threatened property.
Be sure every on-site volunteer or worker is prepared to rapidly halt the event and initiate an evacuation in the event of an emergency.
This process, known as ‘show stop’, involves identifying key people to help initiate the evacuation and outlines the safest, quickest way to end the event.
Everyone should know their responsibilities and be prepared to act.
#3 Managing an Event
Your duties as event organiser do not stop once the event starts—if anything, they multiply.
As the event begins, shift your focus from planning and paperwork to managing and monitoring site operations. Your responsibilities during the event include the following:
- Managing – Develop appropriate management systems for each phase of your event. During the actual event, because you cannot be everywhere at once, rely on these systems to help control health and safety risks. Solid planning is essential to hassle-free managing.
- Coordinating – Foster cooperation between all workers during the event. This promotes different teams solving minor problems together rather than relying on your judgement at every turn.
- Disseminating information – Communicate all the information you gleaned from your risk assessments to everyone on-site—neglecting to do so renders all your work pointless. Disseminate information by word of mouth and signage.
- Supervising – Your employees and other on-site workers should be competent to safely do their jobs. Make sure you allocate an appropriate level of supervision to ensure site-wide competence.
- Monitoring and reviewing – Take time to assess your methods and ensure they are being followed. Periodically monitoring your event will help keep your management team agile and ready to respond to any potential problems.
#4 Arrange Event Insurance Protection
The varied and ever-evolving nature of events dictates that the associated risks and insurance solutions need to be specifically tailored to your requirements.
These can be adapted to your exacting needs, this will ensure that you are fully protected, while only paying for the specific areas of required cover.