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The COVID-19 pandemic has genuinely affected all of us globally in all aspects of our lives. From the rigorous protocols of 2020 to the gradual lifting of restrictions and lockdowns of 2021, we now face 2022 with more knowledge and stronger motivations as we recover from this global pandemic.

In the UK, in-person experiences have started to be relaunched since last summer. Event creators, more than anyone, are already busy bees in recommencing events here and there. More important than ever, their events' health and safety requirements need to be fully realized and secured above anything else.

Consider this checklist as helpful event safety tips to kick things off for you and your event. A friendly reminder, though: stay on top of government guidance at all times, at the same time, reaching out to local officials whenever uncertainty strikes.

Venue Assessment and Suitability

It's good to start with all the activities that will take place in your event and the estimated size and demographics of your target audience. Taking this into perspective, you can now visit the prospected event venue before booking it and assess its suitability.

Factors to Consider:

  • Access: Knowing if there is sufficient access to the event venue for pedestrians and vehicles is critical. PWDs, prams, or wheelchairs and their entry should be considered, and organizers should check enough emergency exits.
  • Facilities: Determine the nearest hospital and fire station in case of emergencies. Study public transportation links and also consider infrastructures needed for your event.
  • Capacity: Learn the safest accommodation methods for your attendees inside the venue, especially considering social distancing measures. Are guests going to stand or be seated? Is there enough room for air to circulate? Is there a possibility of overcrowding occurring?
  • Hazards: Existing hazards like electric power lines overhead or potential interference with buried services your structures might cause should also be thoroughly studied. Is the venue prone to high winds or flooding? When positioning any temporary structures needed for your event, always consider topography and ground conditions before anything else.

Risks and Hazards

The next important thing to note is the risks and hazards that might happen during your event. Risks to safety and risk level are factors you should consider. Making a scale, at least from one to five, can be helpful, with one posing a negligible risk while five being a very severe risk.

Human-Related Hazards

  • Crowd Management: Possibilities like overcrowding (see our crowd safety barriers), crushing, aggressive or drunken behavior, and risks of people around roads or car parks are some factors under this category.
  • Child Protection: Lost children, child abuse or neglect allegations, DBS-checked staff fall into this hazard type.
  • First Aid: People being injured during event activities; the type of injuries and conditions like heat exhaustion in high temperatures or attendees suffering a heart attack can be some scenarios fit for this item.
  • Crew: Protection of your workers from lifting and carrying injuries, investments in lifting equipment, a closer look at PUWER and LOLER regulations are to be considered for this hazard type.
  • Terrorism and Security: Implementation of bag checks and ensuring only those with tickets can enter are preventive measures for any potential security threats.
  • COVID-related: Risks of transmission and its eventual mitigation can depend on the number of people attending. Consider if the event venue will be big enough to implement safety protocol and social distancing measures against COVID-19 and its growing variants.

Non-human-related Hazards

  • Fire: This is a significant factor to always consider for any event. Aspects like smoke control in the venue or on-site should at all times be checked. In addition, campers using barbecues or stoves, electrical fire occurrences, and availability of fire extinguishers would also matter.
  • Trip or Equipment: Ensure cables or guy ropes would not trip people over, people would not bump into glasses, and generators or other electrical equipment would not contact people.
  • Catering: Ovens or hot water should also be a non-risk in events. Proper handling of containers for hot food and drinks needs to be suitable, and Organizers should also handle potential instances of food allergies.
  • Weather: Grounds become slippery when wet, the wind poses risks to structures' stability, and pieces of equipment getting damp or overheating fall under this hazard category.
  • Environmental: Potential damage to the venue or site should be looked upon in coming up with event activities. Accumulation of rubbish could risk wildlife, and contamination may occur from any spillages, so be vigilant about these factors.

Checkout types of crowd control barriers here.

Emergency Plan Creation

As important as the venue assessment and consideration of potential risks and hazards, planning for any situation requiring urgent action should be of utmost importance for your event’s priority list. Anything from potential fires to stages collapsing or incidents of terrorist attacks are some of the things you must include. Even the possibility of bad weather can already spring into an emergency.

Developing emergency procedures for anyone working on the event to follow and discussing these plans with the management in charge of the venue can be measures that would make you feel prepared for any potential unfortunate incident. Include consultation with the police, fire and rescue service, and the ambulance service, especially for significant and prestigious events.

Consider these aspects when developing your procedures:

  • Raising Alarms: Effectively communicate the emergency using in-ears or amateur radios (also called walkie-talkies) with staff and volunteers. The use of cellular phones can also be handy during these cases.
  • Security: When a threat has been identified, use the means mentioned above of communication to raise the alarms and inform your crew to commence your developed emergency procedures.
  • On-site Emergency Response: Fire extinguishers and clear emergency procedures are crucial in the event of a fire. There might be a need for security staff before, during, and after these times.
  • Public Information: Formulate an adequate public address system that will not make the people go into panic mode. Organizers should relay procedures for stopping and possibly restarting the show during this public address.
  • Crowd Management and Evacuation: Move people right away from immediate danger onto a safe place while not forgetting to take children and people with limited mobility into consideration.
  • Emergency Services Summoning and Liaison: Assign POCs or Point-of-Contacts and designate how they assist your commissioned emergency services.
  • Traffic Management: Ensure emergency vehicles have access to the site, including how these vehicles will leave the event site during emergencies.
  • Handling Casualties: Always have ambulances on-site if patients need to be taken to a hospital immediately.
  • Providing First Aid: Have readily-available medical provisions and first aid kits on-site for any potential injuries and incidents that you and your crew can handle lightly.

Takeaways

These tips are a comprehensive list of common potential instances during events. Feel free to edit or add measures and steps you deem necessary and tailor-fitted to the specific needs of your event.

As they say, "prevention is better than cure." So, it is best to be prepared for any potential risk before, during, and after our events than not be prepared. As we face 2022 with a positive mindset to start over, let us be equipped with health and safety requirements to back it up.

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