by Paul Holcroft, Associate Director of Operations, Croner

Planning an event can be both stressful and fulfilling at the same time. There’re a lot of things going on (chefs, caterers, waiters, bartenders, security personnel and more) so it might be easy for some to slip your mind.

However, event organisers have a duty of care to both their employees and the individuals attending their event. Your duty extends to managing and monitoring the event to ensure that attendees and staff members aren’t exposed to health and safety risks.

While it’s difficult to plan for unknown variables, you should have safety procedures in place to address any issues that may arise.

This article explores some of the considerations that event organisers must keep in mind when planning an event.

Before the event

The bigger your event, the more the level of detail should be.

Your first step should be delegating duties within the team, it’s important to make sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities. Including your team in this process allows them to raise concerns they may have. They should also have a say in and influence decisions that concerns their health and safety.

For organisers with five or more employees, you’re better off creating a company health and safety policy for consistent messaging across all of your events.

Factors that’ll help determine the required resources and facilities include:

The scope of the event (including type and scale).

The size of the audience (including age).

The location of the event.

The time of day (and year) the event will be held.

The duration of the event.

Once off of these factors have been determined, the next step involves converting it into a safety plan (remember to plan for first aid). Remember to coordinate with other entities involved with the event. This include, the management of the venue, local emergency services and authority.

It’s also important to bear these considerations in mind when selecting contractors, think about their suitability for providing a safe service. Always go with contractors that have an understanding of the health and safety risks involved with the project and the proposed solution to these risks.

During the event

At the event, you’ll be responsible for the health and safety of the event staff, contractors and attendees. You need to make sure that their overall safety is maintained up to a reasonable standard.

Your duties include:

Addressing the risks discovered in your health and safety assessment to control risks.

Providing all involved with relevant information relating to any risks to their health and safety.

Training employees to perform their tasks effectively and safely.

Monitoring the event’s compliance with health and safety regulations.

Reviewing overall health and safety arrangements.

During the event, you should have an appropriate management system in place to make sure you’re controlling any health and safety risks. Remember, risks are greater during the load-in, build-up, breakdown and load-out process so safety management would come in handy here.

After the event

Debriefing is a vital part of the process. It allows you to look back on the event and make changes for future events. You can have a debriefing meeting with your employees, identify areas where things went well and when they didn’t. It’s also a good idea to involve the local authorities at this point. Recognising these problems and successes allows you to make improvements for future events.

This is a guest post by Paul Holcroft – Associate Director of Operations at HR, health and safety and reward consultancy, Croner. He is also a specialist in employment law and a regular seminar speaker.