What could be nicer than enjoying the summer sun at an outdoor event in July?

As with all other areas of work, event safety has both civil and criminal legal implications for all those involved in the planning, organisation and staging of events.

This guide from Hettle Andrews will hopefully assist you in planning and running a safe event:

Find a Suitable Venue; of the necessary size for the numbers of visitors you expect. It needs to be in the right location with good transport links and have suitable access points and exits to and from the site. Natural or manmade hazards and the availability of electricity and a water supply will also need to be considered, as will the possibility of noise pollution for local residents.

Allocate Responsibilities for each element of the event to individuals who are competent to oversee that area.

Undertake a detailed Risk Assessment, to consider the build-up period and setting up of the event, the event itself, and the closing down and clean-up after the event. Important things to consider as part of the risk assessment include:

– Venue design and layout

– Fire, first aid and major incidents

– Traffic, parking, entrances and exits

– Crowd management

– Electrical supplies, lighting and water supply

– Hazardous processes or hazardous substances being used

– Catering safety and food hygiene

– Waste management

– Toilets and washrooms

– Bouncy castles or fairground rides

– Fireworks, lasers and other special displays

– Child protection and procedures for lost children

– Accessibility for disabled persons
Ensure Emergency Plans are put in place for; fire or explosion, major accidents, terrorist threat, medical emergencies, release of hazardous substances, or adverse weather conditions.

Liaise with Police, Fire and Local Authorities in the planning of the event where necessary. Importantly try and request that the local fire and rescue service visit the venue beforehand to advise on safety, and ensure to access routes to site for emergency vehicles are adequate.

Ensure that your Insurance provider has been informed of the event and that the adequate coverage is in place.

Ensure the Competence of Contractors coming onto site, whether it be to fit out or set up the site prior to the event, or as a part of the event itself. You should check they are competent, experienced and qualified and have the relevant Public Liability insurances in place, and that they have undertaken suitable risk assessments for the work they will be undertaking.

Make sure that you have adequate Staffing Levels to; control access to site, direct people and marshal vehicles, carry out the emergency plans (if required), to keep gangways and exits clear, and brief them on the procedures for lost children, fire and emergency procedures.

Crowd Management is important once the event has started, considerations include; car parking and access, entry and exit routes and facilities suitable for the numbers expected to attend. Stewards or marshals are also invaluable for large crowds as they will be able to give information and help direct people in the event of an emergency. The type of crowd, ages, disabilities, social mix, and the type of event will all effect the level of control needed and the level of staffing required to monitor crowds. Consideration of the layout, barriers, escape routes, signage, gates, fences, dead ends and bottlenecks will also help to alleviate any crowd problems to. (This should be completed at the risk assessment stage).

Make sure Communication is effective and reliable; between staff members or volunteers working at the event (e.g. two-way radios); between event organisers and attendees (e.g. via public address system or loudspeaker), and; with the emergency services in case they are required. Pre-event communications are also important to convey information such as location, access, parking, timings, and site plans (for larger sites). Likewise, signage and notice boards at the event, as well as staff marshals, can provide assistance to attendees.

Keep Records of the safety arrangements that have been put in place, and retain them, as it may be some time before accidents or injuries are known. This will enable you to demonstrate the safety measures if a claim is ever brought against you.

Review and De-brief with staff following the event, in order to highlight any problems that occurred and enable better planning and management for your next event.


Please contact us if you would like to hear more on this story:

T: 0121 423 6200

E: info@hettleandrews.co.uk