Common Safety Issues At Events & Festivals - Part Two

Author / Mark Breen
09 Aug ‘17

This content was originally published in our Safe Events mailer. We publish most of our content there first and then put it up here on the website. You can sign up to that mailing list here to be among the 1st to get these resources each time.

Common Safety Issues At Events & Festivals - Part Two

Part One of Common Safety Issues at Events & Festivals is available here, if you missed it. 

Part Two is continuing in the same vein as Part One. We're outlining some of the most common safety issues we see at events and festivals. The hope is that knowing about these can help you and your colleagues avoid them on your own events.

Again, we realise not every event will have Event Controllers and Safety Officers like us working on them. 

Hopefully, with content like this, we can help you run safer events without necessarily needing us. We got to #7 in the first email so let's keep going from there. . . 

#8 Diesel generators

Only ever use diesel generators for events. You do not want petrol generators near crowds. Simple as.

It's your responsibility NOT to use them yourself and also to ensure vendors, exhibitors etc. don't use them at your event.

We wrote a blog post entitled Do Not Use Petrol Generators At Events. They're Not Safe, which you may find useful to understand why we avoid petrol generators.

#9 Fire exits

Check the fire exits in your venue. Don't just trust that all is ok with them. 

Walk through them. Ensure they open easily. Ensure they open outward. Ensure there is nothing blocking them outside and that there is nothing impeding an exit once outside. 

If you're getting a marquee built for your event, ensure you include fire exits. It's not the supplier's job to think of that stuff for you. Make sure you get fire exit signs put up - the ones that light up.

#10 Too many people

You need to know how many people can safely fit in the venue for your event. NOT knowing that is negligent. 

That might mean employing Crowd & Event Safety specialists like us. It might mean relying on the capacity for the venue  stated on their fire cert. Consider this though - the nightclub / ballroom's stated fire capacity is for it in its normal state. If you're bringing in performers to interact with the crowd, putting in a cloakroom, adding in a bar, putting in a selfie mirror - all of these will affect the capacity. 

Having too many people in an event space is negligent and reckless. 

Involve professionals if you need to.

#11 Medical cover

You really shouldn't run an event without providing some degree of medical cover. You should have an experienced person perform a Medical Needs Risk Assessment (MNRA) to see what you need for your event. 

If you're looking to gather a crowd to attend your event, have some medical cover in case anything happens.

Voluntary medical providers can be a good option for lots of smaller, local events. Just consider things like:

  • How many people are they providing?
  • What are those people's qualifications?
  • Will there be an ambulance on site?
  • Can that ambulance transport a patient off-site in an emergency? This can depend on the level of qualification of the staff provided.
  • If the ambulance does transport off-site, are you then left with significantly depleted medical cover at your event?
  • Will they provide you with a report after the event outlining any incidents and treatments etc.?

There's more to medical than phoning the local voluntary organisation and ticking a box.

#12 Barriers

Barriers are an issue at nearly all events. 

The wrong types of barriers tend to be used for the wrong purpose. Broadly speaking there are 2 types of barriers used in events:

  • CCBs - Crowd Control Barriers / Cowgate barriers / Bike rack barriers
  • Mojo / Front of Stage barriers

Both types of barrier are designed to do different things, perform in different ways and they are ONLY of use to you if used properly. When used improperly they are a danger. 

What tends to happen is CCBs are used at the front of stage area or other areas where there will be crowd pressure against them. This is dangerous. CCBs are not designed to take forward pressure. They're designed to block off back of house areas, go around generators & light towers, create pen / holding areas for queuing etc. 

We wrote this article years ago, which you may find useful - For Your Safety - Mojo Barriers Are A Must

Event the White House gets this wrong sometimes. 

#13 Vehicle movement

Vehicle movement through crowds of people during an event is best avoided. If it can't be avoided then it needs to be safely managed.

It generally isn't avoided and isn't safely managed at most events. 

It often happens at local events where exhibitors want to leave early or vendors want to bring extra stock in etc. This should be avoided if possible.

We wrote this article entitled Vehicles Shouldn't Be Moving Through Crowds Of Pedestrians, which you may find useful. 

#14 Insurance

People running events, especially local, 'smaller' events often tend to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to insurance. 

Look at it this way - if you're part of a voluntary, local committee of people running an event, then without a proper insurance policy on the event you and those with you on the committee will be personally liable if something goes wrong

There are some good event insurance brokers in Ireland and we've heard it said far more than once that insurance policies did not cost nearly as much as event organisers expected they would. 

The bottom line

We're Crowd & Event Safety professionals. We work on all sorts of events every year and we attend all sorts of events. This post and Part One outline the most common safety issues we see on events in Ireland. 

You have a duty of care to the people who come to your event. Do whatever you can to ensure they're safe. 

Hopefully you have found the content of these posts of use and they might help you run safer events in the future.