4 Key Health and Safety Considerations When Managing Events
Health & Safety, where to even start? It is one of the weightiest phrases bandied around the event industry and without a basic understanding of what it entails it really is very difficult to plan any kind of event – whether it’s an open public event, a brand activation, an internal sales kick-off or an internal company wide party!
As an event organiser, you have a duty of care to all parties involved in your event – suppliers, partners, attendees etc. For this reason, your processes need to be best in class and all encompassing which can sound very daunting but that doesn’t need to be the case. Being practical and simplifying your processes will make for a streamlined approach to health and safety planning for your events.
Regardless of the type of event or size of event, you should always consider the following criteria.
1. Choose the right venue
Is the space suitable for the type of event you are planning? How many entry/exit points are there and how long will it take your attendees to pass through these? Is it fit equipped for catering, toilets, internal AV or will you need to bring in external facilities and suppliers?
If you are looking to use part of a venue you should also be aware of what is happening in the rest of the venue at the time of your event so that you can ensure these operations do not impact your event.
2. Know your audience
Considering the demographic that you are hosting at your event will allow you to develop a working list of assumed behaviours. What age are your audience? How are they likely to travel to your event? Will they eat/drink a lot and has this been accounted for in your planning? Do they like to network/mingle and if so have you correctly accounted for this in your capacity analysis of the relevant event spaces?
Are there any vulnerable groups (e.g. children) likely to attend the event and if so have you implemented the necessary processes to ensure their safety?
3. Have a solid team and management structure
A successful event required multiple people working towards a shared goal – it always involves a team of people. It is important that each member of the event team knows their role/the area that they are responsible for and the impact that it has on the wider event. The event controller will ultimately be in charge of the full event but they need to be supported by zone managers and/or specialist contractors.
Your Event Management Plan should clearly set out the team working on the event, their roles and responsibilities and their communication channel. Every team member needs to be clear on their decision-making power and when/how to escalate issues that will inevitably arise.
4. Contingency & emergency plans
Because not every aspect of every event will always run to plan we always need to consider contingencies. What if the power fails in the venue, is there a backup source? What would lead you to the decision to evacuate your event, and what steps do you need to take to ensure the evacuation is carried out in a calm and efficient manner?
Emergency and/or contingency planning often makes you think like you are being overly negative, focusing on what might go wrong at the event. Really it is the opposite! Taking the time to review and question your plans in advance of the event gives you the opportunity to plan for all eventualities and ensure the full team is aware of these plans so there are no surprises if/when you need to implement a contingency plan on the day of the event.