The importance of health and safety for events can’t be overstated, and every organiser needs to follow regulations. When done right – and when no accidents occur – event health and safety measures largely go unnoticed, which may lead some people to think that they aren’t crucial.
However, it’s when everything goes well and it almost feels invisible that you know health and safety at events is doing what it should. While some parts will always be visible, such as fire extinguishers, emergency exit signs, and more, preventing accidents and injuries is the goal. When it works, there might not be any issues at all, and that means everyone can enjoy the event to its fullest.
Health and safety is about providing a safe environment for staff and customers. Workplace health and safety is one thing, as you can ensure the business is compliant and everyone you employ knows what to do. Health and safety at events follows this practice, but there are a lot more unknowns to account for.
Event health and safety is also a legal requirement, just like other forms of health and safety. If you fail in your duty to provide a safe environment for the event to take place, this can lead to prosecution and fines, as well as legal complaints from the people who suffered because the policies and procedures were not in place or at the acceptable standard. This can break a business, and that impacts a lot of people.
There are plenty of factors to consider when it comes to event health and safety. With so many variables to keep track of, and a variety of risks and hazards that can be present, it can seem like a mammoth task, but there are ways to help make everything safer in a much simpler way.
One method to help with health and safety at an event is to focus on these different factors and identify risks and hazards that could affect them, be caused by them, and influence other factors. You can build a risk assessment or health and safety plan around this, ensuring it’s as comprehensive as possible.
The first thing to consider for event health and safety is the number of people who you expect to attend. This will determine the number of staff you need to ensure the event runs safely and smoothly, and also what venue or location will be suitable for everyone to enjoy themselves.
The more people attending, the greater the chance that someone could be hurt or have an accident. That means more provisions and steps need to be taken to keep everyone safe and having enough contingencies in place should something happen. Any risk assessment should make reference to, and plan for, all eventualities that might happen with a large group of people and what steps have been taken to protect them.
As mentioned, the number of people coming to the event will help decide the venue, but there are other considerations here.
Health and safety at events held at venues you don’t own or lease means using the policies, procedures, and risk assessments the company managing the location has. You can – and should – supplement this with your own assessments and safety measures, as certain events will have specific requirements or hazards the venue might be aware of.
Leading up to the event, check what procedures and safety measures the venue has in place to keep people safe, and what steps can be taken to mitigate any event-specific risks you are aware of.
Some events need certain or specialised equipment. This will largely depend on the event and what you aim to do for attendees. It could be computers and screens, lighting systems, sound systems, and much more. Parties and celebrations could have smoke machines, for example, and there could be amusements for children.
Health and safety at an event is being clear about the use of any equipment, the condition each item is in, who will be using it, whether any training is required, and what the risks and hazards of having them at the event may be – for both staff and attendees.
A lot of events serve food and drink to those that attend – or it’s available to purchase. If provided by you, the event organiser, or the venue, it is your responsibility to make sure these products are fit for consumption. This means everything must be prepared and served in a safe manner, and any equipment such as cookers, heating lamps, fridges, and freezers need to be in good working order.
If working with an external food and drink supplier, they should have their own health and safety policies, but this is something you can supplement with your own risk and hazard assessments, ensuring your event health and safety is as good as it can be.
Every venue should have clear fire safety policies for a range of situations. If the event is taking place at a building you own or lease, then you will be responsible for ensuring this aspect of health and safety at an event is up-to-date and suitable for what you have planned.
This means making sure you have all the necessary fire extinguishers in easily accessible locations, fire blankets, fully trained staff who are aware of what they need to do in case of a fire, and fire wardens who can make decisions under pressure. Fire safety policies should be checked before an event and all necessary staff should be clear as to what they need to do in case of an emergency.
Health and safety for events should include evacuation procedures. This might be in case of a fire, but there are other situations where a building or location needs to be cleared quickly. While it might be the last thing you want to happen during any event, emergency exits and escape routes should be clearly marked and made known to all staff at the event.
Staff should also know what to do in the event that one or more of the emergency exits or escape routes are blocked. In large venues and buildings, there can be a lot to remember so ensuring staff working in each area know all the options available can help them in these situations.
Health and safety for events is something that our expert consultants can help with at Rhino Safety. We know how challenging and stressful organising and running events can be – even for the most seasoned companies and staff. There’s no room for complacency as people can be unpredictable and you should always be looking at ways to make improvements.
Wherever you decide to hold your next event, and whether or not the venue has its own health and safety policies, it’s always best to make sure you have everything covered. To find out more about how we can help with event health and safety, get in touch with our team today.