Every event – no matter how big or small – requires an effective health and safety strategy in place. Whether it be a small meeting or a festival the size of Glastonbury, event organisers have a duty of care for their attendees to ensure they stay safe in any kind of emergency situation.
Having an effective health and safety strategy relies mainly on conscientiousness and common sense. It doesn’t have to be a super long, highly detailed portfolio filled with ‘what if’ scenarios – it simply needs to be a guide for you and your guests to abide by in the event of an emergency.
Here we discuss our top tips on how to develop a health and safety strategy for your event:
The venue you choose for your event can have a big impact on health and safety. By considering factors like the venue’s capacity, accessibility, hazards and facilities, you can draft a plan indicating where the structures, entrances and exits will be.
You can then also decide on how you intend the event to run: will your guests be seated or standing? Is there sufficient access for pedestrians and vehicles? Is the area prone to flooding? How close is the venue to the nearest hospital or fire station?
By knowing the answers to each of these questions, you can develop a health and safety plan specific to your event and venue.
Once you have finished analysing the suitability of your venue, it’s time to run a risk assessment. You will need to think about any risks to safety that your event could present, rating the risk level on a scale of 1 – 5 (1 = negligible, 5 = high).
Here are some key hazards you should keep an eye out for:
1 – Trip hazards.
2 – First aid hazards.
3 – Weather hazards.
4 – Environmental hazards.
5 – Crowd management hazards.
6 – Catering hazards.
7 – Fire hazards.
8 – Child Protection hazards.
Write down all of the possible risks and who is most at risk of being affected by them. Then, write down in one or two sentences how you will mitigate each of the risks, placing an extra focus on explaining how you will reduce each of the severe hazards down to a manageable level.
Maintain a Clean & Healthy Environment
A good cleaning and disinfecting process is more important than ever because of the recent coronavirus pandemic.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces within the venue between uses as much as possible—for example, door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains, grab bars, hand railings, and cash registers.
- Clean and disinfect shared objects between uses—for example, credit card terminals, tables, countertops, and bars.
- Consider closing areas such as drinking fountains that cannot be adequately cleaned and disinfected during an event.
- Develop a schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection.
- Plan for and adhere to these cleaning routines when hiring any event space.
- If transport vehicles like buses are used by the event staff, drivers should practice all safety actions and protocols as indicated for other staff—for example, washing hands often and wearing masks and maintaining social distance of bus riders. To clean and disinfect event buses, vans, or other vehicles see guidance for bus and coach operators, and adapt as needed.
- Ensure safe and correct use and storage of cleaners and disinfectants to avoid harm to employees and other individuals. Always read and follow label instructions for each product, and store products securely away from children.
- Use disposable gloves when removing rubbish bags or handling and disposing of rubbish. Always dispose of disposable gloves safely and wash hands after removing.
Create an emergency plan
It’s not nice to think about, but it’s vital to have a plan in place in the event of an emergency. You’ll need to be equipped to react in an urgent manner, whether it be a fire, a collapsing stage or a more serious terrorist incident. Even bad weather could create an emergency situation that you’ll need to be ready for.
Here are some key questions you need to ask yourself when devising your emergency plan:
1 – How will I raise the alarm?
2 – How do I inform the guests?
3 – Is there any equipment available on-site (i.e. a fire extinguisher) that I can use to respond?
4 – What’s the best way to liaise with the emergency services?
5 – How can I move the event attendees away from the danger?
6 – What method should I implement to manage the traffic in and out of the venue?
7 – Are there suitable medical provisions and equipment available?
8 – What’s the best method to use when handling casualties?
Once you have your emergency plan set up, the Health and Safety Executive recommend that you test it out as a table top exercise to ensure its effectiveness.
Implement your strategy
It’s all well and good coming up with the world’s best health and safety strategy but, unless you actually implement it, it won’t work. You need to communicate what you’ve developed with your event attendees to ensure they understand how to respond effectively in an emergency situation. You should make it clear, either via signage or through an announcement, as to what the site hazards and emergency arrangements are. You should also clarify where each of the facilities are, and use speed limit signs to manage the traffic.
As the event goes on, you should also monitor the risks that you identified by creating a checklist and having somebody analyse each risk at a regular interval. That way, you will be able to look back and discover what did and didn’t work, which will help hugely when organising another future event.
If you need any assistance with sourcing a venue for your event, we at Function Fixers are here to help. Simply contact us today on 020 7186 8686 and one of our friendly team will be happy to talk through any requirements you might have.