Planning your own event

Risk assessment

Your Risk Assessment (RA) should help to protect employees, contractors, volunteers, entertainers and anyone else who works at the event, as well as the public, from harm.

Assessing risk is just one way we can control risks at an event.

Things that should be considered could include but may not be limited to the following:

Adverse weather

Think about what could happen in high winds- gazebos and bouncy castles could be blown over, trees could come down. It’s very important to ensure that structures are anchored properly. Rain can make for dangerous slippery conditions with people/vehicles becoming stuck and there’s a higher risk of slips and falls. There is also a risk of hypothermia to all in persistent cold, wet conditions. Consider instructing staff to bring umbrellas, layers, or provide ponchos. The sun can cause heat stroke and burns. Consider advising all to be prepared with sun hats, loose layers, sun cream, provide water, take shelter. Consider cancelling the event if adverse weather is expected.

Medical emergency

We usually think about simple things like cuts and bruises from falls but also there’s a chance that someone at your event could have a more serious health condition like heart attack, heat stroke causing collapse, drowning in nearby water source, head injuries etc. Your medical first aiders should be able to deal with the medical emergency in the first instance but having a plan so everyone knows and understands the role they play could be the difference between life and death. Think about who is in charge, how will the incident be communicated between event staff and first aiders, who calls 999 if required, how the patient will be treated and where.

Lost or found child/vulnerable adult

Children and vulnerable adults (VA) can go missing quite easily at a public event. They may not know their surroundings and panic can quickly set in for both the child/VA and parent/guardian. Having a good plan in place to reduce this risk is imperative to ensure their safe reunion. SAG recommends handing out wristbands to parents/guardians to fix to the child’s wrist that includes the parent’s telephone number. They also encourage parents to take a photo of their child on entry so that an accurate description can be given should they go missing. Entrances/exits to the event venue should be shut down immediately by staff and the Police should be called if the child/VA isn’t found after 10 minutes or searching. A dedicated lost child liaison officer should be in post for the duration of the event to implement the lost child/VA procedure.

Overcrowding

Many things can go wrong when people come together at a public event. If overcrowding occurs staff need to act fast to avoid crushing, falls, surges, and even fatalities.

Monitor pinch points, entrances and exits, use clickers to count people in and out, monitor space between people and disperse crowds using a loud hailer/PA system announcement if necessary. Consider closing down the event if it becomes seriously overcrowded and unmanageable or if it exceeds the amount of people expected vs the number of first aid/security presence.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB)

This could happen quickly as a result of things like overcrowding, alcohol or drug abuse, or family feuds. It could result in harm to staff and other members of the public if not controlled appropriately. Consider using trained security staff to deal with ASB and eject the individual if they feel their behaviour is unusual, aggressive, threatening or if heavily intoxicated. They may need medical assistance form the first aiders so communication is key in this situation.

Suspect package/terrorist threat

There’s lots of useful advice to help you to implement procedures that mitigate risk of suspect packages using the Four Cs protocol on the GOV.UK website (opens in new window).

When thinking about terrorist firearms and weapons attacks, which are rare in the UK, organisers should implement the Run, Hide, Tell principles. Watch the Stay Safe film (opens in new window).

The current UK Terror Threat Level is now “Severe”. Your event plan will be shared with Notts Police to ensure the latest advice on terrorist attacks is implemented. Staff and security should be extra vigilant during the load in, duration of and load out of the event.

Slips, trips and falls

Think about loose wires, chair legs or speaker stands sticking out, hanging bunting or banners up high, uneven ground, loose fitting temporary flooring, debris in the event space and wet/icy conditions.

Structural collapse

Gazebos, marquees etc. can become unstable. How will you make sure they are fitted properly (i.e. using a reliable contractor or experienced person) and how will you evacuate should a structural failure occur? Detail who’s responsible for raising the alarm and implementing an evacuation.

Loose dogs

The risk of loose dogs in a public park and the damaging effects they could have on a person at your event could be severe. You could give messages over the PA system to advise the public to keep their dogs on lead at all times and to clean up after them, as well as using signage.

Spread of infectious diseases

We have learnt a lot from the COVID 19 pandemic. The risk of passing on or catching COVID 19 or other infectious diseases at crowded public events remains high so we should be responsible as event organisers and take action to limit these risks. You should still encourage people to stay home and not attend the event if they feel unwell, plus encourage the use of hand sanitiser and regular hand washing.

Fire

Do you have the right type of extinguisher on site and someone who is trained to use it? Have a look on the Fire Safe website (opens in new window) for advice.

Vehicle collision

It is advisable to implement a ”no vehicle movement policy” for the duration of the event, unless for emergency services or escorted vehicles. You should avoid using vehicle hazard lights as this can cause confusion and should implement a 5mph max speed limit on load in/out.